NEW in Entropy! Physical Universality, State-Dependent Dynamical Laws and Open-Ended Novelty

A major conceptual step forward in understanding the logical architecture of living systems was advanced by von Neumann with his universal constructor, a physical device capable of self-reproduction. A necessary condition for a universal constructor to exist is that the laws of physics permit physical universality, such that any transformation (consistent with the laws of physics and availability of resources) can be caused to occur. While physical universality has been demonstrated in simple cellular automata models, so far these have not displayed a requisite feature of life—namely open-ended evolution—the explanation of which was also a prime motivator in von Neumann’s formulation of a universal constructor. Current examples of physical universality rely on reversible dynamical laws, whereas it is well-known that living processes are dissipative. Here we show that physical universality and open-ended dynamics should both be possible in irreversible dynamical systems if one entertains the possibility of state-dependent laws. We demonstrate with simple toy models how the accessibility of state space can yield open-ended trajectories, defined as trajectories that do not repeat within the expected Poincaré recurrence time and are not reproducible by an isolated system. We discuss implications for physical universality, or an approximation to it, as a foundational framework for developing a physics for life.


Philosophy alert!!!

Last semester (Spring 2017), I took a really great class that centered on exploring how our ability to sense the world affects our ability to do science. It was a fascinating class, and you can find all the readings and resources here. Here is my final paper for the class, which is a methodological undertaking of using League of Legends data. A very fun paper to write.

Will likely serve as a platform for the introduction to my dissertaion!


What happens if you give a simple dynamical system an environment? Now what if that system could change its laws of physics as the environment changes? We simulate such a system using cellular automata in order to demonstrate the notion of open-ended evolution. We explore how robust open-ended evolution is to different interactions with an environment. In addition, we discuss the importance of these notions in terms of real-world dynamical systems, such as biology.


Real-world Open ended evolution: A League of Legends Adventure

It's no secret that I love playing League of Legends. Turns out, studying this video game is very insightful for general social/complex systems, and can likely even elaborate on aspects of living systems in general. This version was recently submitted to Complex Systems 2017 in New Forest, UK. Will be published in International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.


Effects of a Global Rule in Interacting Cellular Automata

What if you had two different cellular automata rules interacting on the same grid? Would the complexity increase or decrease? This paper was published as an exploratory paper in AUTOMATA 15.


Exploring the Properties of Mira-Type Stars with Spectropolarimetry

My Midway/Honors-in-Discipline Thesis at East Tennessee State Univeristy.

Self-referencing cellular automata: A model of the evolution of information control in biological systems

Imagine a dynamical system that changes its laws of physics as a function of its current state. We explore this notion using cellular automata. Published for ALIFE 2014.


Interacting Behavior and EMerging Complexity

This working paper is an extension of the exploratory paper. Work in progress!


Evidence of a Mira-like tail and bow shock about the semi-regular variable V CVn from four decades of polarization measurements  

While going through about 40 years of data, we found that V-CVN looked a little strange.