The Computational Beauty of Nature
Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos,
Complex Systems, and Adaptation

About the Book
  · title page
  · home*
  · cover artwork
  · jacket text
  · table of contents
  · the author*
  · ordering information
Book Contents
  · three themes
  · part synopses
  · selected excerpts
  · all figures from book
  · quotes from book
  · glossary from book
  · bibliography
  · slide show
Source Code
  · overview &
  · FAQ list*
  · download source code
  · java applets
  · news*
  · reviews & awards
  · errata
  · for educators
  · bibliography (BibTeX format)
  · other links
Glossary - A

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]


Activation     The time-varying value that is the output of a neuron.

Activation Function     A function that translates a neuron's net input to an activation value.

Adaptive     Subject to adaptation; can change over time to improve fitness or accuracy.

Adaptation     An internal change in a system that mirrors an external event in the system's environment.

Affine     An equation that can be written in terms of matrix-vector multiplication and vector addition.

Agent     See Autonomous Agent.

AI     An abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence.

Algorithm     A detailed and unambiguous sequence of instructions that describes how a computation is to proceed and can be implemented as a program.

Algorithmic Complexity     The size of the smallest program that can produce a particular sequence of numbers. Regular patterns have low algorithmic complexity and random sequences have high algorithmic complexity.

Always Cooperate     A Prisoner's Dilemma strategy that cooperates with its opponent under all circumstances (the exact opposite of always defect).

Always Defect     A Prisoner's Dilemma strategy that never cooperates with its opponent under any circumstance (the exact opposite of always cooperate).

Analog     Having a continuous value.

Analytical     Can be symbolically represented in a closed form that does not require any of the complex aspects of a program such as an iterative sum.

Analytical Solution     An exact solution to a problem that can be calculated symbolically by manipulating equations (unlike a numerical solution).

Arms Race     Two or more species experience adaptation to one another in a coevolutionary manner. This often seen in predator-prey systems.

Artificial Intelligence     The science of making computers do interesting things that humans do effortlessly.

Artificial Life     The study of life processes within the confines of a computer.

Associative Memory     Memory that can be referenced by content, as opposed to location. Hopfield networks will act as associative memories when trained with the Hebbian learning rule.

Asynchronous     Describes events that occur independently of each other but on a similar time scale.

Attractor     A characterization of the long-term behavior of a dissipative dynamical system. Over long periods of time, the state space of some dynamical systems will contract toward this region. Attractors may be fixed points, periodic, quasiperiodic, or chaotic. They may also be stable or unstable.

Autonomous Agent     An entity with limited perception of its environment that can process information to calculate an action so as to be goal-seeking on a local scale. A boid is an example of an autonomous agent.

Axiom     A statement that is assumed to be true and can later be used along with theorems to prove other theorems. Also, the starting configuration of an L-System.

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Copyright © Gary William Flake, 1998-2002. All Rights Reserved. Last modified: 30 Nov 2002