Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The artificial society is created!

Category: Science
Idea: Artificial society

Project Fact Sheets

Project Acronym: NEW TIES
Project Reference: 3752
Start Date: 2004-09-01
Duration: 36 months
End Date: 2007-08-31
Project Status: Execution
Project Funding: 1.55 million euro

Emergence & complexity in artificial societies

The NEW TIES project is growing an artificial society using computer programming that develops agents - or adaptive, artificial beings - that have independent behaviours. The project is the first of its kind to develop a large-scale and highly complex computer-based society. The project's results may have larger implications for information technologies design, evolutionary computing systems, artificial intelligence and linguistics.

The project's goal is to evolve an artificial society capable of exploring and understanding its environment through cooperation and interaction. The agents are sufficiently complex and their environment demanding, which enables them to develop a communication system tolearn how to cooperate and to adapt.


The development of social learning by passing on knowledge using language within the same generation is a key innovation of the project. Social learning enables the society to rapidly develop an "understanding" of its world collectively. By probing the collective mind we learn how agents perceive their environment and their society. We also assess what skills they have developed to adapt successfully.

Large scale experiments

The project is a significantly scaled-up experiment beyond any existing state-of-the-art social simulation. To study the highly complex beings and their behaviours, we are developing very large populations supported by a distributed computing infrastructure and a shared, p2p platform. The large-scale system ensures that the environment and society is complex enough to allow significant behaviours and interactions to emerge.

Project Objectives

Develop an artificial society with an emergent culture

To monitor the development of the artificial society, NEW TIES is developing mechanisms to monitor the world models and to identify which system components carry the knowledge structures that make up world models.

Realize a powerful emergence engine

A balanced combination of individual learning, evolutionary learning, and social learning goes into the construction of the engine. The engine helps us to understand the mutual effects of the three types of learning on each other and on the development of both individuals and the program’s entire population. NEW TIES is developing mechanisms for adjusting the balance between the three types of learning. Within the project social learning has a (re)combinative effect on the learning processes which significantly boosts the population’s adaptive capabilities and enables the society to rapidly develop an “understanding” of the world collectively.

Develop, evaluate & use social learning mechanisms

These mechanisms allow knowledge sharing with the artificial society’s population. NEW TIES studies various protocols of information dissemination through the program’s communication mechanisms and investigates their effects on the efficiency of social learning mechanisms. The form and content of the messages between individuals is also important and are assessed by the implementation of a framework that enables the emergence of communication and cooperation that are essential to social learning.