Workshop at Alife VI

Nerve Garden I in Operation at SIGGRAPH 97

Nerve Garden
A Public Terrarium in Cyberspace:
Some approaches and experience gained from
bringing a-life environments to an Internet audience

June 26th, 1998, Sixth International Conference on Artificial Life,
UCLA, Los Angeles California USA


Short Description, also found on the Alife VI Workshops pages

We will begin the workshop with a description of and its activities. Next we will concentrate on the demonstration, goals, architecture and experience of the Nerve Garden project, and follow with a backgrounder including demonstrations and video on the prior work (Sims, Ray, Prusinkiewicz, Terzopoulos). The following portions of the workshop will involve looking more closely at related generative 3D spaces, from Prof Novak of UCLA, which partly inspired our past work and motivates the next version of the Garden. In addition, the underlying work of Sims will be further explored by Peter Hughes and Ken Musgrave from Metacreations labs. Ostman would round up the session with some of his work on L-system generation and self assembling forms, which was used in the architecture of the Nerve Garden beginning in 1996. We will conclude with a call for participation in Biota, Nerve Garden II and announcements regarding the upcoming Digital Biota II conference. Details of all of this work and numerous links to related work can be seen at

A full paper on Nerve Garden can be seen on this web page. This paper will be published in the conference proceedings for Virtual Worlds 98 (July 1-3, Paris France)

To attend contact our Webmaster and then for instructions visit the Alife VI Workshops pages.


Karl Sims' Evolving Creatures, Circa 1991

Full Schedule

1:00-2:00: Bruce Damer will open the workshop with a presentation about, including its background and goals as an organization. Videotape will be viewed of last year's Digital Burgess conference. Bruce will then detail and demonstrate the Nerve Garden I Project from its conception during a visit to the Santa Fe Institute in August 1994 until it debuted at SIGGRAPH 97. See Bruce Damer's pages at the Contact Consortium, Digitalspace Corporation and A full paper on Nerve Garden can be seen on this web page. This paper will be published in the conference proceedings for Virtual Worlds 98 (July 1-3, Paris France)

2:00-2:15: Questions and break

2:15-3:00: Marcos Novak, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design will be discussing how he has been using AL to create transarchitectures. He has been writing algorithms that generate forms from fields, 4D geometries, mappings into curved space, and other strange beasts. The algorithms have parameter spaces that are quite large, so he has been using AL to evolve designs. See Marcos' Transarchitectures website.

3:00-3:45: Peter Hughes and Ken Musgrave, Metacreations, Scotts Valley CA will be demonstrating Dr. Mutatis, a genetic textures program like Sims' '91 paper, but that runs on a Mac. It's visual thrust is to generate imitations of abstract paintings--i.e., images the resemble natural media.

3:45-4:00: Questions and Break

4:00-4:45: Charles Ostman, of Berkeley Designs, Nanothinc and Mondo 2000, will present a philosophical and demonstration session on life evolving in the virtual terraform, nanotechnology, evolvable computing systems and other themes from whole ecosystem modeling and their coming applications. See Charles' website for more details on his work and affiliations.

4:45-5:00+: Bruce Damer will host a final questions and thanks/wrapup as well as call for participation in Biota, Nerve Garden II, and for attendance at Digital Biota II, the second annual conference on cyberbiology, Sept 10-13, Cambridge UK.

Sims' (above) and Rooke's (below) Genetic Cross Dissolves Home