Niche Constructions

Jon McCormack, Niche Constructions,
Evolutionary Software Ecosystem, 2008/2009

Niche Constructions is an automated software drawing program that uses principles of ecosystem dynamics and natural evolution to create an infinite number of line drawings.

Software agents draw on a canvas, leaving a trail of ink as they move around. If the density of ink near an agent suits its preference, it will spawn offspring who draw in different directions. If an agent intersects with an existing trail, it dies. Agents evolve their drawing style and density preferences over time, leading the ecosystem to discover interesting and unusual ways of drawing the space. Eventually all the agents become extinct and the drawing is complete. A new ecosystem is the created and the process repeats. The ecosystem mimics the biological process of niche construction, whereby organisms modify and change their environment to better suit their offspring.

Evolutionary drawing artwork
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Technical papers on Niche Constructions

J. McCormack, “Enhancing Creativity with Niche Construction” in Harold Fellermann, Mark Dörr, Martin M. Hanczyc, Lone Ladegaard Laursen, Sarah Maurer, Daniel Merkle, Pierre-Alain Monnard, Kasper Stoy and Steen Rasmussen (eds.), Artificial Life XII (Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems) Odense, Dennmark. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, pp. 525-532 [pdf]

J. McCormack and O. Bown: ‘Life’s what you make: Niche Construction and Evolutionary Art’, in M. Giacobini, et. al. (eds): EvoWorkshops 2009, LNCS 5484, pp. 528-537, 2009 [pdf]