Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Grabowski

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Fowler

Third Advisor

Dr. Pearl Brazier


This thesis examines how complex features evolve in digital organisms, and how capabilities that evolved earlier provide a scaffold for evolving new features. I wanted to see how the organisms used previous adaptations to succeed in new environments, and how significant are these previous adaptations. The system used is the Avida platform, which is software that implements Darwinian evolution on self-replicating digital organisms. First, the system is seeded with ancestors that can only replicate, which gave a baseline for the quality of the task at the end of evolution. Second, the system used ancestors from a simpler environment as seeds. I observed that the quality of the task improved, but not drastically except for one of the environments. Lastly, the organism gets transferred form the simplest environment to the most complex one. I observed that only when the transplant included a similar complex adaptation the improvement was remarkable.


Copyright 2013 Javier A. Magana. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American