Spider webs by natural selection

I recently discovered this awesome BBC BASIC program for simulating spider webs through natural selection. It was written by Matthew Tizard for the BBC Acorn User magazine October 1992.

Natural selection left running on a BBC Master 128 for a couple of days.

The program generates nine 'spider webs'. The fittest spider web is the web that catches the most 'flies'.  This web is then chosen to go into the next generation.

Natural selection running on BeebEm with 6502 Second processor showing nine generations with 'flies' turned off.

I found that the program is best run with your second processor turned on (for hopefully obvious reasons). In fact I found that you get approximately three times improvement in speed, with one generation taking about twenty seconds to generate, draw and test on screen.

You can easily switch on your second processor using BeebEm as shown above.

Another version of the program allows you to control evolution by choosing which web you wish to survive into the next generation. In this way you can select for characteristics that you like, not necessarily the ones that will catch the most flies.

Assuming that the program is in the public domain I have put the files onto a BBC disk image which you can download from the link below.
BBC Disk Image

You will need to load the disk image into your emulator program, or directly into your microcomputer using the datacenter, MMC unit or otherwise copy it onto a floppy disk.

There is a readme file which can be loaded with *type T.readme

The programs can be executed with CHAIN "ArtAuto" OR CHAIN "ArtLife".  Press <ESCAPE> and type LIST to see the program code.

+1 Geek Experience point for Matthew Tizard

#geek #bbcmicro #naturalselection #spiderwebs