Bruce Damer's EvoGrid Talk at the SETI Institute (Jan 20, 2010)
The EvoGrid: Building an Origin of Life Simulator & Its Implications for Life, the Universe and Everything Bruce Damer , DigitalSpace and Biota.org SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 01 20 2010
ET How many (if any) are out there? How many are on the move? How did they figure out how to do that? And can we do the same?
where: N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible; and R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space. The Drake Equation (for ETs of the “I Love Lucy” detectable kind)
where: N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy which got up the gumption to boldly go out and find the others (ie: In Real Life); and fv = the fraction of civilizations who sport “visionary geeks”, wacky individuals or collectives not solely committed to mundane productivity but instead hooked on this “boldly go” escapade f$ = the fraction of those civilizations whose visionary geeks are not only out of the closet but able to get funding support f(t+n) = the fraction of those civilizations who are willing to fund visionary geeks for indeterminately long periods of time fT = the fraction of the above civilizations that are willing to pay for large scale versions of the geeks’ products for a very long time fm = the fraction of the above that are able to remember what it was all about and handle the end results (or lack of them) in a “mature” way (ie: not killing off all the visionary geeks and burning the fleet) Damer’s extensions to the Drake Equation (for ETs of the “boldly go where no ET has gone before” kind)
<ul><li>So how do these ET visionary geeks accomplish the Boldly Go Thing? </li></ul><ul><li>I postulate that it can and must be done in these seven easy steps… </li></ul><ul><li>They have to understand the concept of abstraction (math) as all good geeks do and that they have to learn how to adapt their brains and/or build machines to render these abstractions into a simulation (computing conceptual worlds at many scales) </li></ul><ul><li>They have to have acquired understanding of their own evolution and that ET civilization and innovation can be vastly advanced over mere tinker-toy fiddling by tapping the power of evolution </li></ul><ul><li>They have to then marry the mechanisms of evolution with the tool of simulation and play around with primordial soups for a while, proving they can make this work before their grants run out </li></ul><ul><li>They then have to decide to apply this magic combination to the challenge of evolving a viable biota (bio-plasmic or machine or both) to take them or their replacements out into the universe </li></ul>
<ul><li>They obviously have to have a good working knowledge of the bits of the universe where they expect to send their “Bio-Universal-Machine” (BUM) selves </li></ul><ul><li>Time to put it all together for our visionary geek ETs: get your BUMs in simulated gear, fabricate them in atoms and dispatch them to boldly go forth and multiply </li></ul><ul><li>Some (not small) time later… in a parking orbit above Earth, the ETs honk and wave “yo down there, got anyone crazy enough to be working on what we just did, if so, send em up!” </li></ul><ul><li>And our visionary geek ETs will have answered the key question of the Universe: Are there are other BUMs like us out there? </li></ul>
But is this realistic? Freeman Dyson: “the simulation should be truly ‘messy’, ie: nature is not clean and neat as you are showing in the movie, cells are more like dirty water surrounded by garbage bags” -Professor, Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, NJ NJ
Penny Boston: “The simulation must model abstract universes and not attempt a high fidelity chemistry model, all that counts is if you can demonstrate a method for supporting ever increasing levels of emergent complexity” -Associate Professor of Cave and Karst Science Director, Cave and Karst Studies Dept of Earth & Environmental Science New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM
Boston: “You need this…. to originate and evolve complex life (and civilization)”
Test Simulations: Dec 2009-Jan 2010 <ul><li>Objective: search for complex “big” molecules forming </li></ul><ul><li>Run cycles: 1000 iterations of 1000 randomly distributed atoms in heat bath within GROMACS for 1 second </li></ul><ul><li>Data produced one day’s runs: </li></ul><ul><li>251 simulations producing 5,480MB of history data with 40MB of statistics </li></ul><ul><li>From 251 simulations we have 196,421 pending branches, so each simulation produces 782 possible branches </li></ul><ul><li>792MB of metadata produced (input parameters for GROMACS) </li></ul>
Simulation #144,204: Highest Score 2.2303 avg-avg-molecule-size 9.355 avg-max-molecule-size 17 max-max-molecule-size 4.47307 max-avg-molecule-size 33.0584 search-evogrid-complexity-1 Based on these numbers, it looks like one large molecule, of 17 atoms "wide", is forming. The term “molecule size” means the maximum link count between any two atoms in the molecule. But nothing has been visualized yet!
Limitations & Next Steps <ul><li>Need input from “real chemists” </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution of EvoGrid onto real Grid (beyond just two computers) @ CALIT2-UC San Diego </li></ul><ul><li>Development of EvoGrid@Home running via the BOINC network, modeled after SETI@Home </li></ul>Future home of the EvoGrid?
Back to Boldly Going Where No Earthy ET Has Gone Before… Freeman Dyson’s Trees
<ul><li>The Open Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Brewing up aliens in the EvoGrid, but are they alien? </li></ul><ul><li>EvoGrid as a new kind of SETI telescope: where in the universe might life arise, and what kind? </li></ul><ul><li>Or… what alternative universes (physics) would be conducive to life (is there a continuum?) </li></ul><ul><li>Would the EvoGrid be our means to communicate with ET? A signal lock? If we talk to them via adaptive virtual creatures will they spare us the bulldozers building the intergalactic bypass? </li></ul><ul><li>If we build the EvoGrid out of quantum computers will we be able to control the critters’ spread, turn on the universe? </li></ul>
We will find out the power of (primordial) soups!
EvoGrid inspirer Richard Gordon: “The Artificial Life community should get down to the basics and simulate an Origin of Life.” -Professor, University of Manitoba, Canada Acknowledgements Peter Newman, chief architect Ryan Norkus, animation, artwork Tom Barbalet: Biota.org FLinT, U. Southern Denmark Freeman Dyson, IAS SETI Institute