"Biological Automata Models and Evolution" (Chapters 2 & 3)

"Biological Automata Models and Evolution" (Chapters 2 & 3)

in Organizational Constraints on the Dynamics of Evolution; J. Maynard Smith and G. Vidya, editors




The papers were selected from presentations at a symposium held in Budapest, Hungary at the Eotvos Lorand University between 29 June and 3 July 1987. The publishers state on the book's back cover: "This volume comprises papers on [the basic tenets of ... Darwinian evolutionary biology], united in a common approach to the rigorous mathematical analysis and description of the processes of natural selection."

In his "Concluding Remarks" to the compilation, coeditor John Maynard Smith wrote of the two essays by Thompson and Goel (Chapters 2 & Chapter 3):

"For me, one of the high spots of the conference was the account by Thompson and Goel of their biological automata models. It was not only that I was envious of their skill at programming. More important, was their demonstration of the process of "self-organization". If you can program something, then you can be confident that the mechanisms you propose can actually generate the results you claim, and that is what they have done. Some thirty years ago, I drew a distinction between two kinds of developmental processes, which I called "jigsaws" adn "penny whistles". By a molecular jigsaw I had in mind a struccture whose final shape depended on the shapes of the molecules that composed it, and which would in a sense, assemble itself, given that the right moelcules were provided (perhaps in the right relative amounts, and in the right order). This is the kind of process that Thompson and Goel have simulated, with triumphant success."