Systems Science Friday Noon Seminar Series

Open-Ended Development in Role Systems



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This seminar outlines an Artificial Life approach to explore the phenomena of growth and development in ecological, economic, and social systems at an abstract level. “Development” is the emergence of novel types of system elements and their integration into the system through novel types of relations - a process which I will call “role proliferation.” This is in contrast to system growth, characterized by simple increases in the number of elements, without any increase in the variety of types of elements or relations between elements. Central to this ALife approach is the notion of a “role system,” which will formalize the idea of the role proliferation process. This seminar will briefly explain the key concepts (development, role systems, and open-ended evolution) along with some established metrics for measuring open-ended evolution, and describe a model for exploring development dynamics in artificial role systems.

Biographical Information

Shane Dicks received his bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Public Policy from the James Madison College at Michigan State University in 2009. After graduation, he spent several years working in a variety of roles, industries, and organizations, while cultivating his interest in complex dynamic systems. At present, Shane is a PhD candidate and Adjunct Instructor in the Systems Science program at Portland State University. Shane is primarily interested in understanding the evolutionary processes underlying change in social systems. He makes use of agent-based modeling techniques to explore the dynamics of large-scale social structures, with the hope of eventually informing a comprehensive and consistent theory of the development of societies.


Artificial life – Computer simulation, Cybernetics, Evolution -- Mathematical models, Creative ability in technology, System theory, Biological systems -- Computer simulation, Biological systems -- Simulation methods, Computers -- Intelligence (ai) & Semantics, Genetic algorithms, Evolutionary computation, Genetic programming (Computer science)


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Open-Ended Development in Role Systems