L. B. Soros and Kenneth O. Stanley (2014)
Identifying Necessary Conditions for Open-Ended Evolution through the Artificial Life World of Chromaria
In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE 14). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014 (8 pages).

Winner of the Best Poster Award at ALIFE 14

This paper is accompanied with a set of video demos and source code here.


A full understanding of open-ended evolutionary dynamics remains elusive. While artificial life worlds have been proposed to study such dynamics and tests have been devised to try to detect them, no theory yet has enumerated the key conditions that are essential to inducing them. The aim of this paper is to further such an understanding by hypothesizing four conditions that are essential for open-ended evolution to prosper. Of course, any such conditions must be satisfied by nature (the clearest example of an open-ended domain), but we do not know the scope or range of possible worlds that could achieve similarly impressive results. To complement the hypothesized conditions, a new artificial life world called Chromaria is introduced that is designed explicitly for testing them. Chromaria, which is intended to deviate from Earth in key respects that highlight the breadth of possible worlds that can satisfy the four conditions, is shown in this paper to stagnate when one of the four conditions is not met. This initial controlled experiment thereby sets the stage for a broad research program and conversation on investigating and controlling for the key conditions for open-ended evolution.