Tim Taylor

Tim Taylor
Monash University (Australia) · Clayton School of Information Technology

PhD

About

68
Publications
11,508
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849
Citations
Introduction
I'm a scientist, author and developer of Artificial Life and AI, with particular interest in open-ended evolutionary systems. My book on the (very) early history of the idea of self-reproducing and evolving machines, covering the period from the 1650s to 1950s, is now out! (see http://timt.co). I'm a Senior Research Fellow (external contractor) at Monash University, an elected board member of the International Society for Artificial Life, and an associate examiner for the University of London.
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - March 2018
Monash University (Australia)
Position
  • Senior Researcher
May 2015 - October 2015
The University of York
Position
  • Research Associate
March 2014 - December 2014
Monash University (Australia)
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
October 1995 - March 1999
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Artificial Intelligence
October 1992 - September 1993
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Artificial Intelligence
October 1989 - June 1992
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Natural Sciences (Experimental Psychology)

Publications

Publications (68)
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the possibility of instilling a virtual world with mechanisms for evolution and natural selection in order to generate rich ecosystems of complex organisms in a process akin to biological evolution. Some previous work in the area is described, and successes and failures are discussed. The components of a more comprehensive fr...
Article
Full-text available
We present a survey of the first 21 years of web-based artificial life (WebAL) research and applications, broadly construed to include the many different ways in which artificial life and web technologies might intersect. Our survey covers the period from 1994-when the first WebAL work appeared-up to the present day, together with a brief discussio...
Article
Full-text available
We describe the content and outcomes of the First Workshop on Open-Ended Evolution: Recent Progress and Future Milestones (OEE1), held during the ECAL 2015 conference at the University of York, UK, in July 2015. We briefly summarize the content of the workshop's talks, and identify the main themes that emerged from the open discussions. Two importa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a high-level conceptual framework to help orient the discussion and implementation of open-endedness in evolutionary systems. Drawing upon earlier work by Banzhaf et al., three different kinds of open-endedness are identified: exploratory, expansive, and transformational. These are characterised in terms of their relationship to...
Book
[ *** See https://www.tim-taylor.com/selfrepbook/ for further details *** ] Is it possible to design robots and other machines that can reproduce and evolve? And, if so, what are the implications: for the machines, for ourselves, for our environment, and for the future of life on Earth and elsewhere? In this book the authors provide a chronologic...
Article
Industrial agriculture’s expansive monocultures contrast against community farms of diverse crops in small allotments constrained by urban regulations. These human-controlled differences in scale, arrangement and crop diversity, may differently impact insect foraging and pollination. The relationship between human management and insect pollination...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In previous work I proposed a framework for thinking about open-ended evolution (Taylor, 2019). The framework characterised the basic processes required for Darwinian evolution as: (1) the generation of a phenotype from a genetic description; (2) the evaluation of that phenotype; and (3) the reproduction with variation of successful genotypephenoty...
Article
Full-text available
Heterospecific pollen transfer by insect pollinators has the potential to drive inter-species competition between flowering plants. This phenomenon may newly arise in a region if insect pollinator or flowering plant populations change. An agent-based simulation is presented to assess the potential impact of heterospecific pollen transfer by insects...
Chapter
Within the next century we will likely witness the introduction on earth of living organisms originally designed in large part by humans, but with the capability to reproduce and evolve just as natural organisms do.
Chapter
Alan Turing’s development of a theory of universal computation in the 1930s [293], followed by the appearance of the first digital computers in the 1940s, allowed people to experiment with processes of logical self-reproduction—that is, self-reproduction implemented in software without the extra difficulties entailed by physical self-reproduction....
Chapter
By the turn of the twentieth century, the pace of technological development had created a more pressing need for considering where such progress might ultimately lead us. During this period, the exploration of potential futures of humanity in a world shared with self-reproducing, evolving machines was attracting a wider audience. Where Butler, Mars...
Chapter
By the climax of the British Industrial Revolution in the 1840s, the idea of machines making other machines was no longer quite such an “unexpected property” as it was when Paley wrote Natural Theology just decades earlier. Indeed, around this time we start to see more anxiety about the potential consequences of machine selfreproduction as the idea...
Chapter
Having reached the end of our review, we now take a step back to assess the implications of the work we have described, the issues that remain unresolved, and the likely directions of future research. Later in the chapter we consider technical details and practical problems relating to implementations of self-replicators, and conclude with a discus...
Chapter
We begin our journey by looking at the early intellectual precursors to the idea of self-reproducing machines, dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Chapter
The blossoming of theoretical and practical work from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, described in Chap. 5, continued to gather pace as the 1960s progressed. The period from the 1960s to the present day has witnessed significant developments in the field, and the work has branched into a variety of novel application areas. Most of these developm...
Preprint
Full-text available
A paper in the recent Artificial Life journal special issue on open-ended evolution (OEE) presents a simple evolving computational system that, it is claimed, satisfies all proposed requirements for OEE (Hintze, 2019). Analysis and discussion of the system are used to support the further claims that complexity and diversity are the crucial features...
Preprint
[***** N.B. The full paper is available open access at https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.04430 *****] Nature's spectacular inventiveness, reflected in the enormous diversity of form and function displayed by the biosphere, is a feature of life that distinguishes living most strongly from nonliving. It is, therefore, not surprising that this aspect of life...
Article
[***** The full paper is available open access at https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.04430 *****] Nature's spectacular inventiveness, reflected in the enormous diversity of form and function displayed by the biosphere, is a feature of life that distinguishes living most strongly from nonliving. It is, therefore, not surprising that this aspect of life shou...
Article
Full-text available
Nature's spectacular inventiveness, reflected in the enormous diversity of form and function displayed by the biosphere, is a feature of life that distinguishes living most strongly from nonliving. It is, therefore, not surprising that this aspect of life should become a central focus of artificial life. We have known since Darwin that the diversit...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a novel application of agent-based simulation software to tune real greenhouse infrastructure containing flowering seed or vegetable crop plants and their insect pollinators. Greenhouses provide controlled environments for the growth of high-value crops. As global climate and weather become more unpredictable, we are becoming mo...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper presents a high-level conceptual framework to help orient the discussion and implementation of open-endedness in evolutionary systems. Drawing upon earlier work by Banzhaf et al., three different kinds of open-endedness are identified: exploratory, expansive, and transformational. These are characterised in terms of their relationship to...
Preprint
Full-text available
The influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (ALife) technologies upon society, and their potential to fundamentally shape the future evolution of humankind, are topics very much at the forefront of current scientific, governmental and public debate. While these might seem like very modern concerns, they have a long history tha...
Preprint
Full-text available
The influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (ALife) technologies upon society, and their potential to fundamentally shape the future evolution of humankind, are topics very much at the forefront of current scientific, governmental and public debate. While these might seem like very modern concerns, they have a long history tha...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (ALife) technologies upon society, and their potential to fundamentally shape the future evolution of humankind, are topics very much at the forefront of current scientific, governmental and public debate. While these might seem like very modern concerns, they have a long history tha...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the possibility of instilling a virtual world with mechanisms for evolution and natural selection in order to generate rich ecosystems of complex organisms in a process akin to biological evolution. Some previous work in the area is described, and successes and failures are discussed. The components of a more comprehensive fr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We describe the design of Omnigram Explorer (OMG), an open-source tool for the interactive exploration of relationships between variables in a complex system. OMG is designed to help researchers gain a holistic, qualitative understanding of the relationships between variables in their data at a preliminary stage of analysis; such exploration might...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Open-ended evolutionary dynamics remains an elusive goal for artificial evolutionary systems. Many ideas exist in the biological literature beyond the basic Darwinian requirements of variation, differential reproduction and inheritance. I argue that these ideas can be seen as aspects of five fundamental requirements for open-ended evolution: (1) ro...
Book
Full open-access proceedings available from https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/proceedings-european-conference-artificial-life-2015
Book
Proceedings of WebAL-1: Workshop on Artificial Life and the Web 2014, held at the 14th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE 14), New York, NY, 31 July 2014. Available open access at https://arxiv.org/abs/1406.2507
Article
Full-text available
A brief survey is presented of the first 18 years of web-based Artificial Life ("WebAL") research and applications, covering the period 1995-2013. The survey is followed by a short discussion of common methodologies employed and current technologies relevant to WebAL research. The paper concludes with a quick look at what the future may hold for wo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The application of evolution in the digital realm, with the goal of creating artificial intelligence and artificial life, has a history as long as that of the digital computer itself. We illustrate the intertwined history of these ideas, starting with the early theoretical work of John von Neumann and the pioneering experimental work of Nils Aall B...
Article
Full-text available
An individual-based model of the process of niche construction is presented, whereby organisms disturb the envi- ronment experienced by their neighbours. This disturbance in local conditions creates a niche that potentially could be filled by another species (which would then create still more niches and so on). The model is unique in allowing the...
Article
Full-text available
In our attempts to understand the evolution of biological, cognitive and cultural systems, critical questions arise concerning the origin of meaning. I argue that the key to success in attempts to create computational systems that exhibit the same capacities as their natural counterparts to evolve new and creative ways of interacting with their env...
Article
Full-text available
Eyetracking facilities are typically restricted to monitoring a single person viewing static images or pre-recorded video. In the present article, we describe a system that makes it possible to study visual attention in coordination with other activity during joint action. The software links two eyetracking systems in parallel and provides an on-sc...
Article
Full-text available
We consider the problem of non-trivial pat- tern formation in decentralised multi-robot sys- tems, and, in particular, how to achieve time- and space-varying behaviour. To tackle the problem, we explore the idea of evolving the fine-level regu- lation of an underlying self-organising controller. Results from simulation show the promise of the appro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The HYDRA work provides insight into the exploitation of holistic behavioural and morphological adaptation in the design of new artefacts. The potential of the new design principle has been exemplified through the construction of robotic systems that can change morphology. Two prototype building block systems has been developed, HYDRON for a fluid...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces a novel study on the sense of valency as a vital process for achieving adaptation in agents through evolution and developmental learning. Unlike previous studies, we hypothesise that behaviour-related information must be underspecified in the genes and that additional mechanisms such as valency modulate final behavioural respo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We introduce METAMorph, an open source software plat- form for the experimental design of simulated cellular development pro- cesses using genomes encoded as genetic regulatory networks (GRNs). METAMorph allows researchers to design GRNs by hand and to visu- alise the resulting morphological growth process. As such, it is a tool to aid researchers...
Article
Full-text available
In this position paper, I argue that a fruitful, and as yet largely unexplored, avenue for artificial life research lies in modelling organisms (specifically, phenotypes) and environment as a single dynamical system. From this perspective, the origin and evolution of life is the progressive control of the dynamical system at a local level by constr...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces HydroGen, an object compiler system that produces self-assembly instructions for configurations of Hydron units. The Hydron is distinct from other self-reconfigurable robotic units in that it operates under water, and can thus move without being constrained by gravity of connectivity requirements. It is therefore well suited t...
Article
Full-text available
A decentralised real-time controller for a group of robots is presented, the design of which is inspired by biological genetic regulatory networks. A genetic algorithm (GA) is used to automatically evolve controllers for specific tasks. Results of initial experiments are presented and analysed, which demonstrate that it is possible to successfully...
Article
Full-text available
It is argued that a fruitful, and as yet unexplored, avenue for artificial life research lies in modelling organisms as organisations embedded within a dynamical system environment. From this perspective, the origin and evolution of life is the progressive control of the dynamical system at a local level by constraints which are represented on an o...
Article
Full-text available
The realistic physical modelling of characters in games and virtual worlds is becoming a viable alternative to more traditional animation techniques. Physical modelling can enhance realism and allow users to interact with the world much more freely. However, designing controllers to move physically modelled characters (e.g. to make a human characte...
Article
Full-text available
Dynamic virtual worlds potentially can provide a much richer and more enjoyable experience than static ones. To realize such worlds, three approaches are commonly used. The first of these, and still widely applied, involves importing traditional animations from a modeling system such as 3D Studio Max. This approach is therefore limited to predefine...
Article
Full-text available
This work investigates the effect of ecological interactions between organisms on the evolutionary dynamics of a community. A spatially explicit, individual-based model is presented, in which organisms compete for space and resources. We investigated how introducing the potential for mutualistic relationships (where the presence of one type of orga...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter addresses the nature of open-ended evolutionary processes, and the related, but more subtle, issue of how fundamental novelty (i.e. creativity) can arise in such processes. A number of existing artificial evolutionary systems, such as Tierra (Ray, 1991), are analysed in this context, but it is found that the theoretical grounding upon...
Article
Full-text available
The first detailed mechanistic models for genome based reproduction were developed by John von Neumann in the period 1948-1953 (von Neumann, 1948, 1949; Burks, 1966). While these models were extremely abstract, subsequent elaboration of the structure and function of DNA proved von Neumann's designs to have been strikingly prescient. However, some s...
Article
Full-text available
this paper) in providing a drive for evolvability has been neglected; even if a system has the capacity for high evolvability, it will not realise this capacity if the appropriate selection pressures are absent.
Article
Full-text available
Karl Sims' work on evolving body shapes and controllers for three-dimensional, physically simulated creatures generated wide interest on its publication in 1994. The purpose of this article is threefold: (a) to highlight a spate of recent work by a number of researchers in replicating, and in some cases extending, Sims' results using standard PCs (...
Article
Full-text available
Subjects named the colors in which high- and low-frequency words and pronounceable nonwords, otherwise matched, were displayed. Color naming was slower for all three item types than for visually equivalent strings of nonalphanumeric symbols but was no slower for words than for nonwords, nor for high-frequency words than for low-frequency words. Unp...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is a substantially revised and updated version of DAI Working Paper No. 259 [Taylor 96].
Conference Paper
Full-text available
. Von Neumann's architecture for self-reproducing, evolvable machines is described. From this starting point, a number of issues relating to self-reproduction and evolution are discussed. A summary is given of various arguments which have been put forward regarding the superiority of genetic reproduction over self-inspection methods. It is argued t...
Thesis
Full-text available
This work addresses the question: What are the basic design considerations for creating a synthetic model of the evolution of living systems (i.e. an `artificial life' system)? It can also be viewed as an attempt to elucidate the logical structure (in a very general sense) of biological evolution. However, with no adequate definition of life, the e...
Article
Full-text available
Rewriting System on Multisets (ARMS) as a framework for investigating the emergence of reaction cycles [46]. In ARMS, unlike in Nidus, the allowable reactions are explicitly provided by the designer in the form of a collection of rewrite rules. There is also a strict order in which the rules are applied to the components in the system. In contrast,...
Article
Full-text available
This paper highlights some areas of general methodology which should be carefully considered when designing a bottom-up simulation for scientific experimentation, and also suggests some considerations that are specifically relevant to A-life models designed to investigate the evolution of life. This is not, of course, the first time that concerns h...
Article
Full-text available
The role of contingency (random events) in an artificial evolutionary system is investigated by running the system a number of times under exactly the same conditions except for the seed used to initialize the random number generator at the beginning of each run. Twelve different measures were used to track the course of evolution in each run, and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A critical discussion is presented on the use of self-replicating program systems as tools for the formulation of generalised theories of evolution. Results generated by such systems must be treated with caution, but, if used properly, they can offer us unprecedented opportunities for empirical, comparative studies. A new system called Cosmos is in...
Article
Full-text available
Keywords: Artificial Life, Evolution, SelfReplicating Programs, Embryology, Development, Multicellularity, Parallel Programs Introduction This paper describes a system that has been developed to study the open-ended evolution of parallel computer programs. The system is called COSMOS (standing for COmpetitive Self-replicating Multicellular Organism...
Thesis
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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The ultimate aim of this long-term project is to understand how to build artificial evolutionary systems that share biological evolution's capacity for the apparently endless evolution of novelties, new behavioural tricks, new forms of organisation, and an increase in the maximum complexity of organisms and ecosystems.
Project
In this line of research we seek to maximise the potential of the web for artificial life research, in three ways: by reviewing the history of work in this area; by organising workshops for practitioners; and by pursuing new research.