[From Mike Acree (970702.0855 PDT)]

Bill Powers (970701.0713 MDT)

what

happens if we start with a randomly-connected environment and let the

reorganization process sort out the effects of randomly-connected outputs

on a set of randomly-connected input signals?

But suppose it proved to be either true or false that a set of

self-reorganizing control systems could find order and get control in an

environment where the connections between output and input were really

random -- in other words, to create order out of total disorder. Either

result would be important, epistemologically.

This experiment sounds like a more advanced version of what Stuart

Kauffman did back in the 60s, hooking together a bunch of Boolean gates

at random and finding that they typically settled down into a stable

pattern. He has explored this question in great depth and

sophistication in his book _The Origins of Order_, though his newer book

_At Home in the Universe_ (the title implying that we're not freaks of

nature because spontaneous order is natural) is much more accessible. I

know the suggestion of links between your work and that of others is not

one of your favorite responses; I mention it on the off chance that you

may not be familiar with his work, in which case I would expect you to

find it interesting and time saving. On the other hand, if you have

gone well beyond what he has done, or are working orthogonally to it,

that difference would be interesting to hear about, too, if you were so

inclined.

Best regards,

Mike