We spend a lot of time talking about problems with gender inclusivity at scientific conferences, and rightly so – things are unlikely to change if we don’t call attention to the problems. But it’s also important to recognize conferences that are doing a good job! So, I’d like to take this opportunity to do that. For the sake of this series of posts, I’m just going to focus on gender inclusivity, although obviously inclusivity towards all groups is also important. There are two easily measurable elements of gender inclusivity: anti-harassment policies and speaker balance (if people have other ideas, I’d love to hear them!). Part one of this blog post series will deal with anti-harassment policies, while part two will deal with speaker balance. A third part may be forthcoming if I get enough ideas for alternative ways of judging […]
One of the nice things about summer is catching up on everything that got put to the side during the semester, right? It seems like reading literature is always one of the first things to go, so I’ve been spending some time reading a number of papers that I had set aside to be read “sometime” since they’ll definitely feature in a background section in my future. I’m quite interested in the evolution of cooperation, and one type of cooperative “game” is the production and use of public goods. A public good is a product that is useful to an organism, but is for some reason physically outside of the organism’s control and so must be shared with surrounding organisms. In the simplest systems, a “tragedy of the commons” scenario can occur in which organisms that don’t […]
Recently, I and two other members of the Devolab had the opportunity to participate in an instructor training workshop for Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry. Software Carpentry is an organization that runs workshops aimed at helping scientists who can program a little improve their programming, while Data Carpentry is aimed at getting scientists with little to no programming experience started with data analysis beyond a spreadsheet. These workshops (including the instructor training) use an evidence-based, open-source teaching style that really appeals to me. Every time a pedagogical approach was mentioned, citations were provided to back it up. All of the lessons are maintained in github repositories, which everyone is encouraged to submit pull requests to (doing so is even a requirement for becoming an instructor!).
While Avida is used most often in experimental mode where digital organisms are allowed to evolve and a whole lot of data is produced and saved, there is another way you can use Avida after the experiment is over: analyze mode.
I’ve recently published a paper on inferring the ruggedness of fitness landscapes by the clever use of spatial structure. We call this effect regarding the rates of adaptation, “The Tortoise-Hare Effect.” But instead of repeating myself, I’ll link to a couple summaries.