Introduction

part of The Coreworld: Quantum Teleportation and Artificial Souls by Alexander (Sasha) Wait

Long before I started graduate school, since childhood, I have wondered about the possibility of quantum mechanical artificial life. In this work I describe a world which might support such lifeforms. My Quantum Coreworld is inhabited by assembly language programs or motifs; the language—an extended version of Corewar's Redcode (Dewdney 1984)—permits motifs to use quantum operations on quantum bits (Nielsen and Chuang 2000). For a lively discussion of similar work, but without a quantum twist, see O'Neil 2003. With luck, this project—under development at http://science.fiction.org—will provide a useful digital evolution laboratory at the intersection of biology, physics and computer science.
Figure 1. Two views of the same coreworld; at left: cores, at right: bricks.

A coreworld consists of volumes of space, called bricks, arranged into locally interacting neighborhoods or cores. In Figure 1 the bricks are colored cubes and the cores are donuts. Bricks can be occupied by molecules which are described by a computational chemistry; these molecules undergo Brownian-motion during periodic fluctuations. Coreworlds are grouped together into an ecology or Quantum Virtual Machine (QVM). A sample ecology is shown in Figure 2—different size worlds indicate different numbers of bricks (and cores)—the coreworlds are arranged in a torus so that worlds at the left are connected to worlds at the right. Neighboring worlds are stitched together so that, during fluctuations, bricks at the boundaries are exchanged. At the same time new configurations of molecules, or motifs, enter the ecology at the bottom layer of bricks and these molecules provide a source of nutrients and new diversity. In the subsequent sections, I will describe how the ecology can be compactly described and discuss why the length of this description is an interesting measure of complexity.
Figure 2. An ecology, or QVM, composed of fifteen coreworlds.


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await @ genetics.med.harvard.edu