close this bookVolume 8: No. 16.3
View the documentGenetic algorithms
View the documentAlife applications
View the documentAI and robotics
View the documentResearch software (in our CRS 8.16 digest this week)
View the documentTravel communications
View the documentHealth
View the documentPersonal advice

An "Art and Aesthetics of Artificial Life" exhibition will run 26Jun-12Jul98 at the UCLA Center for Digital Arts, coordinated with the Alife 6 conference. Videos, pictures, sculptures, websites, software, environments, etc., are solicited. Thumbnail samples from at least 25 artists will be posted to . [Nicholas Gessler, , genetic-programming, 30Apr98. Bill Park.]

The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) asked CyberLife to adapt their Creatures game to a real application: piloting unmanned aircraft. The approach is genetic search through a space of complex neural networks and "hormone" levels designed to simulate human behavior and learning. The norns have been training/evolving in Eurofighter simulations, and can now "sustain flight formations, evade attackers, shoot down enemy aircraft, and complete reconnaissance missions." In about six months they'll be given genuine miniature planes to fly. [Anil Malhorta. Newsweek, 18May98, p. 10.]

You can find more about the fighter pilot application, plus an introduction to norns, in a recent New Scientist article, . For a pretty thorough explanation of their neural-network construction, see . There's also a lot of discussion on Usenet's [Jorn Barger ,, 12May98.]

Oops. A woman driving in Marseille heard distress signals from her Tamagotchi and tried to get a companion to take care of the little critter. Her attention distracted, she slammed into two cyclists. One died instantly. [RISKS-19.36-37. Bill Park, 17Apr98.] (An artificial life death? A norn might have driven more safely -- but it's hard to train it on unforeseen situations.)

A good "jumping off" place to research projects using the "Soar Architecture for Cognition" is . The central page for the Soar/IFOR project, which develops automated pilots for combat aircraft, is . Some of the links from this page are password-protected by the US government, but you can usually get access to them if you have a legitimate reason. [Randolph M. Jones ,, 28Apr98.]