Objects that make objects: the population dynamics of structural complexity

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
James P Crutchfield, Olof Görnerup


To analyse the evolutionary emergence of structural complexity in physical processes, we introduce a general, but tractable, model of objects that interact to produce new objects. Since the objects--epsilon-machines--have well-defined structural properties, we demonstrate that complexity in the resulting population dynamical system emerges on several distinct organizational scales during evolution--from individuals to nested levels of mutually self-sustaining interaction. The evolution to increased organization is dominated by the spontaneous creation of structural hierarchies and this, in turn, is facilitated by the innovation and maintenance of relatively low-complexity, but general individuals.


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