Welcome to OpenEndedness


The motivation for a forum on open-endedness began with the series of workshops on Open-Ended Evolution, starting with OEE1 at York, and continuing in subsequent artificial life conferences. The workshops have always been a vibrant source of scientific interaction; this forum seeks to extend the conversation to an open-ended virtual domain.

The forum is expected to serve multiple purposes, and will hopefully become itself a living entity, with new purposes emerging. Initially it aims to serve the following purposes:

  • Research tool: The forum contents is a library of scientific literature. Its content mirrors what might be obtained from a search on Google scholar; indeed, much of the contents were seeded using this excellent tool. Besides raw citation information, however, the forum provides functional overlays on the raw information:

    • tags on the topics for classifying them, and enabling retrieval of all topics with a specific tag. Categories formed by tags are typically heavily overlapping. Tags are intialized by keyword search when topics are entered; they may changed (both added and deleted) dynamically by the community.

    • discussion threads: these should be useful for bringing up questions sparked by an article, or for reporting ulterior illuminating results. Current examples may be found in the Models category, where discussion threads include implementation issues.

    • suggested topics: further suggestions of forum topics [NB: currently the stock discourse platform algorithm is quite unsophisticated. Our community may want to enhance the forum with doc2vec style machine learning suggestions.]

  • Collaboration tool: An endemic problem in the study of open-endedness, and more generally in the study of artificial life, is the problem of “isolated interesting results”. The field is driven by many such results that are scientifically interesting and attractive, but that are typically not woven into a larger scientific narrative connecting them with other results.

    This platform should provide some tools for large scale collaborations to organize and discuss results, across model platforms. See the Projects category described below.

Forum structure

There are several categories in the forum:

  • Literature: a living archive of literature on open endedness and open ended evolution. It aims to capture all important entries in the literature, with the ability for the community to comment, suggest links not necessarily apparent in the original articles (e.g. to subsequent work), and to provide a reference for simulations and source code repositories for reproducing and extending research. In addition, it aims to provide a forum for discussion, with threads that can be started independently of particular articles.

    The literature category has been seeded with articles found from searching google scholar, e.g. for “Open ended evolution”. It is currently structured by decade (in sub-categories).

    Literature has been seeded by various searches on google scholar, both by topic and by researcher. Tags are largely assigned by a simple keyword recognition algorithm. One of the forum admins, @Samsun008, has done the lion’s share of entering data to the forum.

  • Workshops: articles that are explicitly related to particular Alife workshops on open-ended evolution. Some workshops have had special issues (e.g. of the Artificial Life Journal) publishing workshop articles, others not.

  • Models: a library of models, with pointers to source code repositories for implementation. Also with an attempt to cross-reference to articles in the literature, but the cross-reference should by no means be considered exhaustive.

  • Measures: a library of code for implementing measurments to detect and quantify open-endedness.

  • General discussion: a place to discuss questions, issues, and observations related to open-endedness and open-ended evolution.

  • Projects: a collaborative space for projects. Categories here should serve to enable large scale collaborations to communicate and discuss pieces of each project.
    The Projects category has been seeded with ideas for projects, each having a descriptive introductory topic, but all are waiting for community participation!

  • Also, please note that we can create other categories! Send suggestions to @admins


Please sign up!

Help out by uploading your favorite articles on open-endedness and open-ended evolution as new topics. You may find some of your relevant work here, but almost certainly not all of it (apologies!!)… please help out by uploading your valuable historical contributions. And by all means upload your own most recent work.

A “standard entry” literature topic includes

  • Citation information, e.g. as may be obtained from Google scholar:
    – Article title as the title of the topic
    – Complete reference
    – URL(s) to access article
    – Abstract
    – Other useful information, e.g.
    • Cited by… link from scholar.google.com
    • URL to supplementary information
    • URL to code repository
  • tags to classify the article. Some tags are auto-created at topic creation. These may be deleted or added to by you. If you are inspired to create a new tag, great!

But: if you are in a hurry, feel free to add topics with only skeletal information!!! (e.g. just title & authors). If your topic is interesting enough to be read by someone, others may fill out further information.

New topics do not need to be articles; you can post anything you think might be of interest interest to the community, especially in the General Discussion category.

You can upload figures, and even pdf’s. You can put math in your post using latex. Feel free to use this forum as a lightweight form of publication!


Also help out by adding replies to existing topics; comments, references to other work, additional relevant simulations or laboratory experiments. Please feel free to correct erroneous entries, and add new ones.

Many of the seeded articles have not been curated by assigning tags; these have been assigned the tag needs-tags. Please remove this tag placeholder and replace it with one or more actual tags.


In addition, we can create new categories for discussion. Any ideas for enlarging the forum for such discussion should be forwarded to @admins.

Created May 2021 by Norman Packard @N