Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bruce Damer Famed in NYT

My Boulder Creek friend and neighbor Bruce Damer is a man of many parts. He runs a company that creates virtual reality simulations for NASA and other organizations in which moon landings, lunar exploration, asteroid mining, for example, can be carried out on comfortable Earth-based computers rather than in the harsh airless environment of outer space. Bruce is the proprietor of a quaint hacienda in Boulder Creek which among its lush gardens, performance stages, meditation huts and pig pens, houses the world-famous Digibarn, a collection of historical computers from the primitive Altair to a Cray supercomputer--many of which actually work.

Recently Bruce has turned his considerable talents to the question of how life evolved on Earth and, using his ability to simulate extreme environments in software is attempting to simulate the primordial soup from which all life on Earth, including you and I, presumably emerged. Bruce calls his Origin of Life system the "EvoGrid" and has made it the topic of his PhD thesis at the University of East London. Last week Bruce's work attracted the attention of a major article in the New York Times and now my Boulder Creek friend is experiencing his fifteen minutes of fame.

Congratulations, Bruce. Now back to work. We're all waiting to see what sort of primitive creatures will emerge from your homebrew digitized primordial soup. But please keep them in their cages. The last thing humans need is competition from novel software-evolved life forms.

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