Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Great Time and Science in Erice

Between the 15th and 22nd April, I was at the 6th International Workshop on Data Analysis in Astronomy «Livio Scarsi». The workshop was organized in Erice at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture. The conference theme was quite large, Modelling and Simulation in Science, with contribution from three major branches: Astrophysics, Biology and Climatology. With my PhD Student, J.C. Torrel, we presented our works on hierarchical muti-agent approach through two examples: LifeDrop for the study of evolution dynamics and our results in comological simulations. A great time with many interactions, in a delightful medieval ambience and splendid location of Erice located on high ground overlooking the northern coast of western Sicily.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New 3D Biomorphs for LifeDrop

Finally, we have choosen a new 3D design approach for the LifeDrop virtual creatures. Each biomorph is composed of a set of 3D building blocks: segments, head, tail, antenna, eyes, etc. The DNA of a creature includes a structural template thatcan be evolved through mutation, cross-over and natural selection. The set of possible creatures is very big even if not really infinite. As in the previous version of LifeDrop, there are three basic types of creatures: (1) predators haunting any other creatures, and (2) preys eating (3) weeds in the virtual water drop. The software is under development in Java and a realtime 3D engine that will enable to render biomorphs with a higher level of realism compared to the previous versions that were quite minimalistic from this point of view (see preview images). The 3D engine will manage two models for each creature: a "low-polygons" model for the rendering of the ecosystem as a whole, and a "high-polygons" model in a dedicated "magnifying glass" window.
Another goal of this new implementation is to reduce the number of parameters for experiments. This is important in order to have a more precise study of evolution dynamics. With two many parameters, it is quite difficult to analyze which ones are really meaningfull and those which are useless and only add noise in experiments. LifeDrop version 4 is now an on-going project...