Monday, March 9, 2009

Meme project for complex systems class

I'm creating this blog to track my progress on my project for the graduate level complex systems class I'm taking. Hopefully this will make writing the project report easier as I won't have to reconstruct the events later. I'm also hoping to use it to gather in-process feedback from my professor.

The project assignment is to write a simulation in NetLogo. I have chosen to simulate the spread and evolution of cultural beliefs using a meme-like model.

So far I've accomplished the following:
  • Implemented the simple infrastructure of the model including the the three turtle types I'll be using (Morphs - simulating people, Objects - simulating raw materials and artifacts, and Memes - simulating cultural processes / beliefs / rituals / etc.)
  • Implemented a mini-language interpreter. The mini-language will be used to represent the contents of memes and is structured to support genetic programming.
  • I have given Morphs the ability to turn and move forward.
  • I am currently working on giving morphs the ability to transmit and receive memes.
The next steps are:
  • Finish and debug the implementation of meme communication.
  • Implement simple "morphs here" sensors in Morphs to enable them to detect each other when they are on the same patch
  • Enhance the mini-language to include meme communication and morph sensor primitives.
  • Write a new meme to enable sensory and communication use.
  • Modify the prototype setup to run it all.
Outstanding research challenges are:
  • How should I handle the creation of new memes (random, inductive logic, deductive logic, etc.)?
  • What genetic operators to use to modify existing memes? Are crossover and point mutation the correct model for memes, or should I be looking for something that models information entropy (i.e. the "phone game" phenomena)?

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