I have now chosen all my coursework/essay topics for this term. The "titles" aren't really finalised, they're just brief summaries of what the project is about.
Artificial Life - An agent-based model of meme transfer Can global cultural distinctions emerge from local convergence? I will be recreating Robert Axelrod's model of cultural influence from his 1997 paper "The Dissemination of Culture" (The Journal of Conﬂict Resolution, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 203-226, Apr. 1997). Axelrod's model was implemented in Pascal, but I intend to use Processing. I'll try to keep the implementation nice and flexible so hopefully I'll be able to extend it fairly easily. I'll be trying to reproduce Axelrod's results and play with variations of the model to see what happens.
Intelligence in Animals and Machines - Implied aspirations of complexity Many of the researchers working in the fields of evolutionary robotics and others building control systems for simple insect-like robots seem to present their work with an ever-present implication that the distant end goal is human-level, or at least human-style, intelligence. I will examine how valid this implication is, with specific references to evolutionary approaches and the magnitude and nature of the scaling problem.
Formal Computational Skills - Nash Equilibria and Evolutionarily Stable Strategies I will study the concept of equilibrium points in Game Theory and how they relate to evolutionary biology.
Programming Techniques - Spellchecker in C This course is about learning to program in C and assumes complete beginner status - it starts from scratch. I already have some programming experience, so I decided to choose one of the suggested projects to enable me to concentrate on my other chosen topic, microcontroller programming.