The primary conclusion from the work described here is that the original report of computational modelling of autopoiesis  was flawed, in that it failed to identify the chain-based bond inhibition interaction as being present and, indeed, as being an essential requirement for the achievement of the described autopoietic phenomena. Given the lapse of time since the original publication, it is now difficult to suggest any definitive explanation as to how this interaction, actually present in the program code, came to be overlooked in the qualitative and algorithmic descriptions. However, as described elsewhere , the work was carried out during a difficult and turbulent time in Chile, and, further, there was a considerable time interval between the actual experiments and eventual publication. These factors together probably provide an adequate explanation for the oversight.
In any case, the work described here also raises a more general question about the publication of computationally based ALife research. A key feature of scientific publication is that it should facilitate independent critical testing of whatever phenomena are presented. In this particular case, the defect in the original reporting (not a defect in the original model!) was uncovered only when a copy of the original program code was rediscovered by chance. At the time of the original publication, the technological facilities were not generally available to support easy distribution or access to accompanying code--but this is no longer the case. We would suggest therefore that as a general principle, published reports on computer models of ALife should be accompanied by access to the program code for the models on the World Wide Web.
Bare access to program code is, of course, of limited value in itself. Effective critical review would require that it should be ``reasonably'' feasible that others in the community be able to execute (and, indeed, modify) this code. This suggests a need for some degree of standardisation, where that is possible. The Swarm simulation system, with its open licensing for scientific research, offers a candidate platform for such standardisation. Indeed, this was a key reason for adopting Swarm in the development of the SCL system . Our experience of using Swarm in this application suggests that it can provide a stable, efficient, and portable basis for wide dissemination of this kind of ALife research.
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Timestamp: Wed Feb 5 21:58:53 GMT 1997