Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jan. 28 Meeting Minutes

Project Name: Does Spatial Heterogeneity Increase Evolvability?
Group Members: Emily Dolson, Audra Chaput, Samuel Perez
Paper to be Replicated: B. Walker, C Ofria (2012) Evolutionary Potential is Maximized at Intermediate Diversity Levels, Artiļ¬cial Life 13, 116-120.
Date: Jan. 28, 2014
Notable Discussion:
On Tuesday (Jan. 28), Emily and I briefly­­­ talked about Emily’s slide pitch. In this project, we will replicate the paper by Walker and Ofria 2012, which concluded that intermediate resource inflow across the landscape resulted in higher Shannon entropy and more populations evolving a complex trait (EQU) than a low or high resource inflow. The main extension to this paper will be to add spatial heterogeneity to Walker and Ofria’s model, which will be incorporated by separating the landscape into 8 different resource gradients (imagine 8 non-overlapping circles across the grid), and randomizing them each time we go through a run to minimize spatial-resource bias. This will allow us to examine whether more populations can evolve the complex trait than if the resources were evenly scattered across the landscape. We could also measure Shannon entropy to get an estimate of diversity represented across the whole landscape. Finally, we can further extend this project by doing all two-pair combinations of resources across the grid (28 different combinations for 8 resources), such that there are two resources in each part of the grid, and then tabulating the number of populations that can perform the complex task at the end of each run.   
Next Meeting: To be decided
Goals for Next Meeting: Everybody should read the paper to be replicated, and come up with some questions about the paper and the goals, extensions, and potential problems that we will need to address. If you have time, look at some configuration options for the environment and resources and see if any potential options would be useful to the project. Also, setting a consistent schedule for future meeting would be welcome by all (bring your calendars).
Graduate Mentor: Randy Olson

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