Bruce Damer

Bruce Damer
University of California, Santa Cruz | UCSC · Department of Biomolecular Engineering

PhD

About

68
Publications
16,847
Reads
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903
Citations
Introduction
Chemical, geological and combinatorial complexity models for the origin of life, and testing of those models at early Earth field analogs. The search for life outside the Earth on Mars and exoplanets.
Additional affiliations
August 1995 - August 2013
DigitalSpace Corporation
Position
  • Founder and CEO
Education
April 2011 - December 2011
University College Dublin
Field of study
  • Computer Science & College of Human Science
January 1985 - May 1986
University of Southern California
Field of study
  • Electrical Engineering
May 1982 - December 1984
University of Victoria
Field of study
  • Computer Science

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
Full-text available
The concept of habitability is now widely used to describe zones in a solar system in which planets with liquid water can sustain life. Because habitability does not explicitly incorporate the origin of life, this article proposes a new word-urability-which refers to the conditions that allow life to begin. The utility of the word is tested by appl...
Article
Full-text available
It is possible that early life relied on RNA polymers that served as ribozyme-like catalysts and for storing genetic information. The source of such polymers is uncertain, but previous investigations reported that wet–dry cycles simulating prebiotic hot springs provide sufficient energy to drive condensation reactions of mononucleotides to form oli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The search for microbial life on other worlds has been listed as the primary objective for NASA’s planetary exploration program [1]. The search for life is also a topic of interest for stakehold- ers in the general public [2]. The Artemis Program is a bold plan which has the potential to advance several areas of research, including astrobiology [3]...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is possible that early life relied on RNA polymers that served as ribozyme-like catalysts and store genetic information. The source of such polymers is uncertain, but previous investigations reported that wet-dry cycles simulating prebiotic hot springs provide sufficient energy to drive condensation reactions of mononucleotides to form oligomers...
Article
Full-text available
Two widely-cited alternative hypotheses propose geological localities and biochemical mechanisms for life’s origins. The first states that chemical energy available in submarine hydrothermal vents supported the formation of organic compounds and initiated primitive metabolic pathways which became incorporated in the earliest cells; the second propo...
Presentation
Full-text available
Revisiting Charles Darwin's "warm little pond" we present a hypothesis for an origin of life on land in a hot little cycling pool. We cover the experimental evidence of polymerization in wet-dry cycling hydrothermal systems, meteoric inputs, protocell formation and combinatorial selection of the first functions of the living world, the progenote, e...
Presentation
Full-text available
This two part presentation covers current thinking about an origin of life on land, in a 21st Century version of Charles Darwin's "warm little pond". David Deamer covers the chemical scenario in fluctuating hot spring pools while Bruce Damer covers computer science metaphors for the "booting up" of the living world through combinatorial selection o...
Article
Full-text available
We present a testable hypothesis related to an origin of life on land in which fluctuating volcanic hot spring pools play a central role. The hypothesis is based on experimental evidence that lipid-encapsulated polymers can be synthesized by cycles of hydration and dehydration to form protocells. Drawing on metaphors from the bootstrapping of a sim...
Article
Full-text available
Two processes required for life's origin are condensation reactions that produce essential biopolymers by a nonenzymatic reaction, and self-assembly of membranous compartments that encapsulate the polymers into populations of protocells. Because life today thrives not just in the temperate ocean and lakes but also in extreme conditions of temperatu...
Article
Full-text available
A four-part essay linking the Origin of Life in hot spring pools on land to the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Part 1: The Origin of Evolution Part 2: Programming Without a Programmer Part 3: The Quest to Test (or Falsify) the Hot Spring Hypothesis Part 4: The Progenote, Chickens, Eggs and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis
Article
Full-text available
David Deamer served as editor-in-chief of Life from 2014 to 2016. [...]
Article
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There is a general assumption that amphiphilic compounds, such as fatty acids, readily form membranous vesicles when dispersed in aqueous phases. However, from earlier studies, it is known that vesicle stability depends strongly on pH, temperature, chain length, ionic concentration and the presence or absence of divalent cations. To test how robust...
Poster
Full-text available
A comprehensive 2017 poster depicting the seven stages of the "Hot Spring Hypothesis" for an origin of life, including the distribution and adaptation of the earliest microbial communities adapting to eventually generate stromatolites which dominate Earth's early fossil record. The poster links the chemistry with recent Australian geological discov...
Article
Full-text available
Enceladus is a target of future missions designed to search for existing life or its precursors. Recent flybys of Enceladus by the Cassini probe have confirmed the existence of a long-lived global ocean laced with organic compounds and biologically available nitrogen. This immediately suggests the possibility that life could have begun and may stil...
Article
Full-text available
Charles Darwin's original intuition that life began in a "warm little pond" has for the last three decades been eclipsed by a focus on marine hydrothermal vents as a venue for abiogenesis. However, thermodynamic barriers to polymerization of key molecular building blocks and the difficulty of forming stable membranous compartments in seawater sugge...
Article
Full-text available
Sealing a small asteroid within an enclosure enables innovative approaches to the Asteroid Redirect Mission concept that pave the way for future in situ asteroid resource utilization. A sealed enclosure would make it possible to use an introduced atmosphere of xenon gas to detumble and despin the asteroid, and then to push the asteroid by using a s...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrothermal fields on the prebiotic Earth are candidate environments for biogenesis. We propose a model in which molecular systems driven by cycles of hydration and dehydration in such sites undergo chemical evolution in dehydrated films on mineral surfaces followed by encapsulation and combinatorial selection in a hydrated bulk phase. The dehydra...
Chapter
Full-text available
The quest for the understanding of the mechanisms of the origin of life on Earth (and by implication elsewhere) could be greatly aided through a synthesis of computer simulation operating at the molecular level and the chemical replication of resultant models in the laboratory. The authors term this synthesis a cyberbiogenesis. The central technolo...
Thesis
Full-text available
The quest to understand the mechanisms of the origin of life on Earth could be enhanced by computer simulations of plausible stages in the emergence of life from non-life at the molecular level. This class of simulation could then support testing and validation through parallel laboratory chemical experiments. This combination of a computational, o...
Article
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Timelines provides perspectives on HCI history, glancing back at a road that sometimes took unexpected branches and turns. History is not a dry list of events; it is about points of view and differing interpretations.
Article
Full-text available
Timelines provides perspectives on HCI history, glancing back at a road that sometimes took unexpected branches and turns. History is not a dry list of events; it is about points of view and differing interpretations.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
After decades of developing and dreaming in the field of Artificial Life, fundamental breakthroughs in computational complexity and laboratory chemical simulation hold forth the promise that virtual worlds may become the proving grounds for an authentic artificial proto-biosystem. Early self-organization and complex phenomena within game spaces and...
Article
Full-text available
The Evolution Grid, or EvoGrid is a computer simulation framework for distributed artificial chemistry (AC) supporting computational origins of life (COoL) research. The EvoGrid consists of a number of small experiments running on short time scales pruned by aggressive tree-branching searches supported by random parametric re-seeding and temporal b...
Article
Full-text available
In the early 1950s at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the canonical digital computer was created by John von Neumann. One of the first scientific applications written for this machine was a simulation of numerical symbioorganisms, a prototypical artificial life environment authored by researcher Nils Barricelli. In the de...
Article
Full-text available
Article about the "Sac State 8008", a very early microcomputer developed around the Intel 8008 by staff at California State University, Sacramento in 1972-73. This system is possibly the first fully developed microcomputer having a simple disk operating environment embedded in PROMs, an interface to a Tektronix display, hard drive, and serial inter...
Chapter
Full-text available
Biography Bruce Damer has been a pioneer of the medium of virtual worlds and avatars over the last dozen years, creating the first conferences, large scale experiments and writing about the medium including Damer, B. (1997). Avatars: Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet, Berkeley: Peachpit Press. He is currently leading a team to b...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual worlds, shared graphical spaces on the Internet, are an exciting new medium of human presence for the 21st Century. This article explores the origins, evolution and future of the virtual world medium from their humble beginnings in multi-player games to their use in education, business, science and engineering. Our focus will be on the deve...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Nerve Garden is a biologically-inspired multi-user collaborative 3D virtual world available to a wide Internet audience. The project combines a number of methods and technologies, including L-systems, Java, cellular automata, and VRML. Nerve Garden is a work in progress designed to provide a compelling experience of a virtual terrarium which exhibi...
Article
Full-text available
Designed by Wes Clark and developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1962, the LINC is considered the first personal computer. This article is about a project by the DigiBarn Computer Museum to work with the original LINC team to restore a LINC to operations and present it at a 2007 Vintage Computer Festical event in Silicon Valley, its 45th anniversar...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This Phase II project successfully developed and tested a new open source 3D platform (Digital Spaces, DSS) that supports 3D real-time simulation of robotic missions such as lunar excavators and base construction telerobotic devices. Over the course of the project, several key applications were delivered for NASA centers. In addition, a commercial...
Article
Full-text available
The virtual-world environment of Second Life is attracting considerable media attention. Some see it as heralding new ways of working and playing online; others question its prospects. In this column, Bruce Damer considers the history of virtual worlds, in which he played an active part. Upon meeting Bruce in Prague in 1994, I was immediately impre...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
DigitalSpace Corporation has been building an open source real-time 3D collaborative design engineering and training platform called Digital Spaces (DSS) in support of NASA's Exploration Vision. Real-time 3D simulation has reached a level of maturity where it is capable of supporting mission engineering design and operations using off-the-shelf gam...
Conference Paper
This paper reports on efforts to utilize real-time 3D graphics to produce visualizations of lunar architectures and vehicles for low to medium fidelity design simulations with a goal to support trade studies.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This Phase II project successfully developed and tested a new 3D real-time simulation platform, Digital Spaces (DSS), and a CORBA connection to the Brahms platform, creating BrahmsVE. In addition, several 3D applications, with underlying Brahms models were developed within BrahmsVE. A simulated lunar base with astronaut traverses proved that the en...
Article
Full-text available
To understand both individual cognition and collective activity, perhaps the greatest opportunity today is to integrate the cognitive modeling approach (which stresses how beliefs are formed and drive behavior) with social studies (which stress how relationships and informal practices drive behavior). The crucial insight is that norms are conceptua...
Article
Full-text available
Nerve Garden is a biologically-inspired multi-user collaborative 3D virtual world available to a wide Internet audience. The project combines a number of methods and technologies, including L-systems, Java, cellular automata, and virtual reality modeling language. Nerve Garden is a work in progress designed to provide a compelling experience of a v...
Article
Full-text available
Nerve Garden is a biologically-inspired multi-user collaborative generative D virtual world available to a general Interact audience. The goal of the Nerve Garden project is to create a virtual terrarium that exhibits properties of growth, decay and energy transfer reminiscent of a simple ecosystem. The resulting exploration of Artificial Life prin...
Conference Paper
Contact Consortium (CCON) is exploring the possibilities of organizing large-scale events in Inhabited Virtual Worlds (IVW)-Cyberspace. CCON held two such events, called Avatars98 (AV98) and Avatars99 (AV99), completely in Cyberspace. These events consisted each time of a conference and trade show. This paper starts with a quick look at the origins...
Article
Although it is a requisite skill for success in industry, visual literacy in graphics is intimidating to computer science and art students. Computer science majors are uneasy about using their eyes to examine images while art students may not have much ...
Article
"Nerve Garden" is an environment designed to allow users to "plant a seed in cyberspace." It was conceived in early 1996 as a test bed for VRML 2.0 technology. "Nerve Garden I," demonstrated for five days as a hands-on installation at SIGGRAPH 97, achieved several milestones, including the creation of a cross-platform, all-Java, client-server VRML...
Article
This introduction is a summary of the workshop from the perspective of one of the workshop participants. It is followed by a report written by the workshop organizers, giving their perspective, and then the position papers.
Conference Paper
Multi-user virtual worlds are proliferating on the Internet. These are two and three dimensional graphical environments inhabited by users represented as digital actors called "avatars". Through this medium, a wide variety of Internet users are participating in a large scale social experiment and collaborating on a variety of projects. The inhabite...
Conference Paper
Multi-user virtual worlds are proliferating on the Internet. These are two and three dimensional graphical environments inhabited by users represented as digital actors called "avatars". Through this medium, a wide variety of Internet users are participating in a large scale social experiment and collaborating on a variety of projects. The inhabite...
Article
Full-text available
In April of 1995 the Internet took a step into the third dimension with the introduction of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) as a commercial standard. Another event that month caused fewer headlines but in retrospect was just as significant. A small company from San Francisco, Worlds Incorporated, launched WorldsChat, a three dimensiona...
Conference Paper
This workshop aims to bring together people engaged in the study of the relationships beytween organizational learning and CSCW to present and discuss their ideas and findings. Issues will include conceptual frameworks; the role of organizational learning ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The emergence of standards such as Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) has made shared, three dimensional virtual spaces available to the greater Internet community. When these spaces become inhabited by representations of people, often referred to as digital actors or avatars, a whole spectrum of social behavior will emerge. Prototypes of inh...
Article
Full-text available
A simulation environment for agents is presented, enabling agent-based modeling and simulation of people, systems and robots in space exploration missions. The environment allows the analysis and design of mission operation work procedures, communications and interactions between people and systems, co-located or distributed on Earth and in space....
Article
Full-text available
Since the early Nineties there has been a requirement at the European Space Agency for a crew activity analysis methodology and tools in support of this methodology. Early efforts were confined to human missions, and were mainly concentrated on the Columbus project. A further constraint was the state of development in computer systems required for...
Article
DigitalSpace Corporation has been building an open source real-time three-dimensional (3-D) collaborative design engineering and training platform called Digital Spaces (DSS) in support of the Exploration Vision of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Real-time 3-D simulation has reached a level of maturity where it is capable...

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Projects (7)
Project
A special issue of the journal Life featuring articles on experimentally testing origin of life hypotheses in the laboratory, in the complex environment of field analogs of the early Earth, and in silico in computer simulations. Find the site to submit articles to here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/life/special_issues/testing_OoL