Biology of Applied Digital Ecosystems

G. Briscoe, S. Sadedin, G. Paperin

A primary motivation for our research in Digital Ecosystems is the desire to exploit the self-organising properties of biological ecosystems. Ecosystems are thought to be robust, scalable architectures that can automatically solve complex, dynamic problems. However, the biological processes that contribute to these properties have not been made explicit in Digital Ecosystems research. Here, we discuss how biological properties contribute to the self-organising features of biological ecosystems, including population dynamics, evolution, a complex dynamic environment, and spatial distributions for generating local interactions. The potential for exploiting these properties in artificial systems is then considered. We suggest that several key features of biological ecosystems have not been fully explored in existing digital ecosystems, and discuss how mimicking these features may assist in developing robust, scalable self-organising architectures. An example architecture, the Digital Ecosystem, is considered in detail. The Digital Ecosystem is then measured experimentally through simulations, with measures originating from theoretical ecology, to confirm its likeness to a biological ecosystem. Including the responsiveness to requests for applications from the user base, as a measure of the 'ecological succession' (development).

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