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Of all the issues discussed at Alife VII: Looking Forward, Looking Backward, the issue of whether it was possible to create an artificial life system that exhibits open-ended evolution of novelty is by far the biggest. Of the 14 open problems settled on as a result of debate at the conference, some 6 are directly, or indirectly related to this issue.

Most people equate open-ended evolution with complexity growth, although a priori these seem to be different things. In this paper I report on experiments to measure the complexity of Tierran organisms, and show the results for a size-neutral run of Tierra. In this run, no increase in organismal complexity was observed, although organism size did increase through the run. This result is discussed, offering some signposts on path to solving the issue of open ended evolution.


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