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We hope you found the Exploring Emergence essay interesting and
provocative. If you are interested in further explorations on the
topic of emergence, you should check the following:
is a massively-parallel modeling environment, intended to help people
(particularly students) explore decentralized systems and emergent
- The Phantom Fishtank is a programmable toolkit
for exploring cellular automata (such as the ones described in this
essay). It was designed many years ago for the computers at that time,
but it remains a classic. It is available from The Logo
- Artificial Life
Online is a good source of information about Artificial
Life research. This research uses computational media to explore and
create life-like behaviors.
- There are a number of good general-interest
books on these topics, including The Recursive
Universe (by William
Termites, and Traffic Jams (by Mitchel Resnick),
Artificial Life (by Steven Levy), and Complexity (by
We created the Exploring Emergence essay not only to
explore the topic of emergence, but also to explore the idea of active essays. We believe that
active essays -- that is, essays with examples that can be played with
and modified -- provide an exciting new form of narrative expression.
Exploring Emergence was part of our effort to explore the
possibilities and limitations of this new form.
We'd love to hear your reactions to our essay. Please send email to
Mitchel Resnick or Brian Silverman.
Go to the start of Exploring
Emergence or to the Contents
Mitchel Resnick and
MIT Media Laboratory
Last modified: 2/4/96