Study of inheritable mutations in von Neumann self-reproducing automata using the GOLLY simulator
This article involves the study of inheritable mutations in a von Neumann self-reproducing automaton, making use of the GOLLY cellular automata simulator. Multi-point mutations were done on the tape which holds the description of the self-reproducer so as to observe the effects over subsequent generations. Von Neumann said that 'Self reproduction includes the ability to undergo inheritable mutations as well as the ability to make another organism like the original.' One of the central models used to study self-reproduction is cellular automata. Evolution relies on sources of variability, such as the results of mutation. This occurs when a system reproduces itself with inheritable variation, resulting in possibly more complex offspring. Subsequent offspring generations may inherit complex attributes from the parent generation during reproduction, and this is shown here constructively.