SELF-REPRODUCING AUTOMATA--SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR THEORETICAL BIOLOGY,
STANFORD UNIV CALIF DEPT OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
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The basic concepts of models of self-reproducing automata are reviewed that share with living systems the property of repetitive production of ordered heterogeneity. The models are also shown to require separate descriptions of the system and the active portion of the system, as there is a distinction between the genotype a set of instructions and the phenotype their functioning embodiment. Reasons are discussed as to why this condition may be necessary in more complex organisms. An explanation is given of a way in which an array model of an automaton can exhibit some of the embryonic properties of resistance to damage to augment the automaton-theoretic approach that provides no insight into reaction to damage. Characteristics of an automaton are considered for evolution. The model must contain internal programs that are themselves modifiable programs, in contrast to models in which each module contains the whole program of the organism, differentiation represented only by activation of different portions of the program. An understanding is needed of how to apply coding theory to the problem of endurance and multiplication in the presence of noise. It is suggested that apparent disorder in complex living systems may be due to adaptation.