Prof. Randall D. Beer (Cognitive Science Program, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, USA) will be giving an IAS-Research Talk entitled “The Cognitive Domain of a Glider in the Game of Life” on Tuesday the 15th January 2013 at 11.00am
ABSTRACT: This talk will examine in some technical detail the application of Maturana and Varela’s biology of cognition to a simple concrete model: a glider in the Game of Life cellular automaton. By adopting an autopoietic perspective on a glider, the set of possible perturbations to it can be divided into destructive and nondestructive subsets. From a glider’s reaction to each nondestructive perturbation, its cognitive domain will then mapped. In addition, the structure of a glider’s possible knowledge of its immediate environment, and the way in which that knowledge is grounded in its constitution, will be fully described. The notion of structural coupling will then be explored by characterizing the paths of mutual perturbation that a glider and its environment can undergo. Finally, a simple example of a communicative interaction between two gliders will be given.