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Workshop overview

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  • Computer Science
  • Design


Beyond Fitness: Visualising Evolution - Workshop overview Tom Smith†, Seth Bullock‡ and Jon Bird† Web: †Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR), School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK. Email: (toms,jonba) ‡Informatics Research Institute, School of Computing, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. Email: [email protected] Beyond Fitness: Visualising Evolution Evolving populations are high-dimensional, time-varying systems that exhibit complex and often counterintuitive dynamics across a variety of time-scales and at many different levels of organisation. Understanding how and why such systems behave in the way that they do is cru- cial if Alife practitioners are to harness the creative and design potential of evolutionary algorithms, use them as models of analogous natural systems, or even claim liv- ing status for the individuals being evolved. Finding efficient and intuitive ways of visualising the be- haviour of these systems can lead to insight into the way they work. Surprisingly, until recently there has been relatively little attention paid to this line of research within the Alife scientific community. While individ- ual researchers have developed idiosyncratic (and often shortlived) graphing techniques and other representa- tions with which to display the behaviour of particular systems, overall there has been a reliance on rather sim- plistic plots of population summary statistics over time - visualisations that by their nature disguise much of the system complexity. Within the Alife community, practitioners who use evo- lutionary techniques as a means of producing works of art have had to grapple with the different ways in which exhibiting an evolutionary system engenders intuitions, impressions and understandings in an audience. In do- ing so they have tackled many of the same issues that are central to the visualisation problems facing

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