Towards the Existence of Two Distinct Types of Emergent Behavior Relevant to Biological Systems
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Wong, Nicholas F.
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CitationWong, Nicholas F. 2020. Towards the Existence of Two Distinct Types of Emergent Behavior Relevant to Biological Systems. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractMany organisms in the world exhibit strange behaviors when found in groups; fish, birds, and ants all act differently when in groups than when separate. In this thesis, I define these types of behaviors as emergent behaviors and subdivide them into two types: primary and secondary emergence. The former indicates emergent behavior that arises due to constant behaviors or properties in the individuals. The latter refers to emergent behavior which arises due to behaviors which evolve as reactions to the environment. To support the relevance of this subdivision, I performed experiments with Human Dermal Fibroblasts, Bacillus Subtilis, and computer simulations. The images collected were quantified via image analysis, and statistically compared in order to make claims about whether the observed behaviors were primary or secondary emergence. The B. Subtilis and all four categories of simulation resulted in random walks. Comparisons between categories of simulation and B. Subtilis revealed that certain results were further from random walks than expected, namely “Threshold – Dense,” “Towards Neighbors,” and B. Subtilis. Due to the values of the r-squared coefficients obtained, I argue that the “Threshold – Dense,” “Towards Neighbors,” represent secondary and primary emergence, respectively. I claim that these deviations are evidence of emergent behaviors being detected by statistical analysis, a key step towards using emergent behaviors to predict and control biology.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364745
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