I have worked since early August 1992 through early February 2002 first as Lisp and then Java research programmer at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois -- in Learning Sciences, first at the Institute for the Learning Sciences, and then at the School of Education and Social Policy. I liked it there; I am presently looking for a replacement job as my funding grant expired at NU. The access to the libraries at NU and UChicago (reciprocal agreement) alone justified working there. Yet my true love is artificial life -- and our natural planet.
As a kid I wanted to be a tram driver, then an astronomer. I love tenting, lake kayaking, meeting people in small towns and on the net, in other countries. I love and in turn endure the tedium of long roadtrips and, yes, I wish for the world yet find it in the small, right here, in our pretty pretty pretty and pretty rough and ragged Chicago.
Often I get away from it. Solitude is good. Books are good. Well-made movies are good. Music. My piano. Friends across the world typed at and talked with are good. Friends in person, better. There's always been longing. I suppose that's good, too. It keeps me braced, bruised and receptive.
If you're keen on looking up my poems, incidental writing, photography, poetry translations and other fun stuff, you can find many relevant pages by searching Google on Marek Lugowski. And since I mark the poems I post to rec.arts.poems on Usenet with "Marek" in the Subject field, you can also find many of those from the years gone by -- by submitting the following search string in the window of Google Groups search:
In fact, let me make it one-click easy for you, here: Marek's poem search.
Visit my webpages here.
The rest of my bio is about artificial life, as I would have liked to have seen it studied -- as computer science, as geometry, as high-dimensioned tilings, all in the service of getting at how biology, geology work, or other real processes, things, not just ideas, abstractions.
In 1985 I came up with the idea of a computer that is exclusively a field of perceiving and mobile tiles. The tiles displace themselves against the background of other tiles, keeping their state, which changes. They recognize each other when they become neighbors, alongside their common edges, provided they notice -- just as enzymes recognize substrates. Hence Computational Metabolism, ComMet for short.
All this, if you imagine it happening over and over and very much (and very fast), amounts to a tumult of random-driven flux of tiles over a space. Two-dimensional space on a square grid is easiest to picture and to work with -- but that's just a tiny slice through possibilities.
If any two tile-neighbors agree upon it, they physically swap places.
If any one tile-neighbor notices another tile unilaterally, it changes internally. This may mean that it will react differently, notice differently, and therefore, have different displacement properties, different memories. Out of all this one could build interesting things.
Taken together, this field of tiles is a kind of miniature society: tiles on a lookout for dates (date: a swapping of places) -- tiles successfully finding mutual matches, or not -- tiles attracting (having a particular color and setting) -- tiles choosing not to date at all (inert tiles not looking, or tiles which don't communicate but accrue stuff; perhaps to communicate later). The tiling encodes more than algorithm -- it encodes a situation, an activity, which in turn could be shaped into algorithms or be nudged from one to another.
The tiling in motion is an explicit notion (geometrically expressed) of multifold overlayed connections and dependencies and contexts, even of degrees of separation in small networks, conducive to be measured in metrics, including a tangible measure of obliviousness, if one wished to construct one. It's possible to look at the tiling and measure things happening on it, or to compute with it directly. Its state is encoded richly by the explicit space-filling and displacing geometry that is the computer. Free space is just another tile, and means something -- as is often true of cellular automata in general, of which this is a peculiar example.
This computer is in complete counterdistinction to logic on numbers, where every meaning is given explicitly in a calculus on symbols that are manipulated and mean nothing otherwise, can't have any other, accidental, unassigned meanings.
Yes, there is the promise of "emergent behavior", but there is room for more -- cryptology, adaptive filtering, quasi-alive lenses and processes of artificial perception and categorization, or regulation. Perhaps ComMet itself could be an approximation for other kinds of computers, from molecular to polymer-based to quantum.
I would like to see work on things like ComMet if only to help overcome traditional going-rate divisions and rigidities in the sciences and other pursuits, the archaic notions of what a machine, a biological system, and especially -- what a sophisticated, even sentient (!) geometrical process could be. New views on all three combined might prove useful -- or simply -- beautiful. And that would be enough. Who is to say how any of this could be used to improve the life and conditions on our little planet. I suspect there is some potential here.
If you are interested in this sort of poetry, find yourself a copy of Artificial Life, Christopher Langton, editor, Marek Lugowski, pp. 343-368: "Computational Metabolism: Towards Biological Geometries for Computing", Santa Fe Institute' Series on the Sciences of Complexity, Addison-Wesley, 1989. It's a point of departure, nothing else, a suggestion for fun work to do.
Selamat jalan, mate
ASGP serial I co-edit with katrina grace craig: Agnieszka's Dowry (AgD) ISSN 1088-4300
Picture Postcards collaboration
Halo Brace, one of my cover designs at ASGP
A Small Garlic Press catalog
A Small Garlic Press book author profile. Last updated on 2004/10/27.
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