Simulating the Evolution of Language using Multi-Agent Systems

author: Mark Bartlett, University of York
published: Feb. 25, 2007,   recorded: September 2002,   views: 286

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Description

While we have a good understanding of how life evolves, we have little idea of how evolution occurs in cultural systems. Of particular interest in this area is the development of language. As spoken words leave no physical remains, we are unable to find historical evidence of this development.
Therefore an alternative approach is needed. The approach many have taken is simulation. By conducting simulations, we can test hypotheses of different models of the evolution of communication, comparing simulated results with those we see in language today.

Multi-agent systems lend themselves naturally to this approach with each entity in the simulation being modelled as a different agent. This ensures the 'mind' of each entity can be kept private from all others and data can only be transferred amongst entities by language acts.

I will present an overview of the most important approaches and results in this field followed by an outline of the research that I am currently engaged in, which seeks to address the act of communication in an artificial-life environment within an altruistic framework..

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