Computational Model of Artificial Life
This research project involves studies of computational models for
early life forms. We have investigated self-replication, an important
feature shared by many early life and pre-life forms, using cellular
models. Using this model, a family of non-trivial self-replicating
have been created which are substantially smaller and simpler than
created by previous methods, starting with Von Neumann's conjecture 40
ago. An implication of this work is that self-replication ability does
have to be associated with life forms in a more advanced stage.
The current focus of this project is on the development of
models for the formation of membranes and other forms of biological
compartment structures known as lipsomes from lipid-like polar
(amphiphiles). Lipsomes such as single layer micelles and reverse
and bilayer membranes have been conjectured to be crucial for the
of early life. It is not difficult to reproduce some of these
chemical experiments. However, without computational models, it is
to investigate at the molecular level the behavior of these structures
and the mechanism leading to their formation. Recently, we have
one such model based on modeling inter-molecular forces stemmed from
basic physical and chemical properties of amphiphiles (e.g.,
electro-statics, and gravity). The computer simulations of this model
demonstrated that simple structures such as micelles can be formed from
a pool of randomly distributed polar particles. Two possibilities will
be further explored toward the formation of bilayer
membranes. One is the formation of membranes from monolayers caused by
external perturbation or internal surface tension; and another from
of several micelles. The resulting model will then be used to
important properties of membranes, include the effects of environmental
(e.g., temperature, pH-value of the solvent, and the concentration of
on the formation of different types of lipsomes; asymmetric permeation
chemicals through the walls of membranes; fission of large membranes to
form smaller ones, etc.
L., Peng, Y., and Reggia, J: “Computational Models for the
Formation of Protocell Structure”, Artificial
Life, 4(1), 61-77, 1998.
L. and Peng, Y: “Computational Models for the Formation of Protocell Structures”, (a plenary talk presented
at the Sixth International Conference on Artificial Life), in Artificial
Life VI, Proceedings of The Sixth International Conference on
Artificial Life, Los Angeles, CA. June, 1998, 35-42.
- Reggia J, Armentrout S, Chou H, and Peng, Y: "Simple Systems
Self-Directed Replication", Science, 259, 26
Feb. 1993, 1282-1287.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact Yun Peng, firstname.lastname@example.org .