Praise for "feminine triumvirate" of researchers at Sussex

Dr Alice Eldridge, one of a "triumvirate" of Sussex researchers praise

Dr Alice Eldridge, one of a "triumvirate" of Sussex researchers praised by the editor of a leading international journal, modified a computer model of swarming behaviour to create abstract ’drawings’.

Praise for "feminine triumvirate" of researchers at Sussex

An editor at a leading international journal has praised three researchers at Sussex for their work on artificial life.

Professor Maggie Boden, Professor Sally-Jane Norman and Dr Alice Eldridge were singled out for their “powerful voices and original contributions” to the study of artificial life, where computers are used to simulate the behaviour of living organisms and populations.

These simulations can tell us more about life on earth – such as how it evolved – but they can also be used to generate complex works of art.

All three Sussex researchers featured in a special issue of MIT’s Artificial Life journal this summer, focusing on the intersection between artificial life and creativity.

In her journal article Maggie Boden , Research Professor of Cognitive Science, focuses on biological creativity and asks how easy it is to generate new biological forms using a computer simulation.

Sally-Jane Norman , Professor of Performance Technologies, suggests that theatre’s complicated relationship between actor and spectator could provide a model for understanding our relationship with simulated life-forms.

Dr Alice Eldridge , Research Fellow in Evolution, Behaviour and Environment, encourages the hacking of computer models from science and engineering for creative purposes.

She illustrates her position by modifying a model of swarming behaviour to create abstract ‘drawings’, including forms reminiscent of bunches of seed heads or fruiting bodies.

A video of this swarming behaviour in action can be seen below.

Alan Dorin , Associate Professor at Australia’s Monash University and the editor of the special journal issue, commented that Sussex’s “feminine triumvirate of artificial life research” had “contributed substantially to the diversity of research in the special issue”.

Dr Dorin added: “These three women have powerful voices and original, thought-provoking contributions to make to the discipline.”

Professor Norman said: “Three articles in one journal issue is a unique and significant ‘hit rate’ for Sussex. This demonstrates that the University is a great place for women working in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary art-science.”

One of the ‘triumvirate’, Dr Eldridge, will soon be joining the Sussex Humanities Lab (SHL), a new interdisciplinary research programme at the University that will explore what it means to study the humanities in the digital age.

Professor Norman, Co-Director of the SHL, explained: “The SHL is very much – avowedly – building on the radical interdisciplinary legacies that are the foundation of Sussex, and that clearly continue to demarcate it internationally.”

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 9 September 2015