Abstract

As the field of Artificial Life advances and grows, we find ourselves in the midst of an increasingly complex ecosystem of software systems. Each system is developed to address particular research objectives, all unified under the common goal of understanding life. Such an ambitious endeavor begets a variety of algorithmic challenges. Many projects have solved some of these problems for individual systems, but these solutions are rarely portable and often must be re-engineered across systems. Here, we propose a community-driven process of developing standards for representing commonly used types of data across our field. These standards will improve software re-use across research groups and allow for easier comparisons of results generated with different artificial life systems. We began the process of developing data standards with two discussion-driven workshops (one at the 2018 Conference for Artificial Life and the other at the 2018 Congress for the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action). At each of these workshops, we discussed the vision for Artificial Life data standards, proposed and refined a standard for phylogeny (ancestry tree) data, and solicited feedback from attendees. In addition to proposing a general vision and framework for Artificial Life data standards, we release and discuss version 1.0.0 of the standards. This release includes the phylogeny data standard developed at these workshops and several software resources under development to support our proposed phylogeny standards framework.

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