Real-world Open-ended Evolution: A League Of Legends Adventure

A. Adams* and S.I.Walker (2017) Real-world Open-ended Evolution: A League Of Legends Adventure. International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics 12: 458-469.

Formal Definitions of Unbounded Evolution and Innovation Reveal Universal Mechanisms for Open-Ended Evolution in Dynamical Systems

A. Adams*, H. Zenil, P.C.W. Davies and S.I.Walker (2017) Formal Definitions of Unbounded Evolution and Innovation Reveal Universal Mechanisms for Open-Ended Evolution in Dynamical Systems. Scientific Reports. 7: 997.

The Emergence of Life as a First Order Phase Transition

C. Mathis*, T. Bhattacharya and S.I. Walker (2017) The Emergence of Life as a First Order Phase Transition. Astrobiology 17(3): 266-276

Ancestral gene regulatory networks drive cancer

K. J. Bussey, L. H. Cisneros, C. H. Linweaver, and P. C. W. Davies, PNAS 2017 114 (24) 6160-6162.


Although cancer is one of the most intensively studied phenomena in biology and occurs in almost all multicellular species (12), an explanation for its existence and properties within the context of evolutionary history has received comparatively little attention. However, it is widely recognized that progress in treatment and prevention depends on a deeper understanding of the biology of cancer (3).

Formal definitions of unbounded evolution and innovation reveal universal mechanisms for open-ended evolution in dynamical systems

A. Adams, H. Zenil, P. C. W. Davies and S. I. Walker, Scientific Reports 7 997 (2017). 


Stochasticity and determinism in cancer creation and progression

Davies, P. C., & Agus, D. B. (2016). Stochasticity and determinism in cancer creation and progression. Convergent Science Physical Oncology1(2).

The Hidden Simplicity of Biology: A Key Issues Review

P.C.W. Davies and S.I. Walker (2016). Rep. Prog. Phys. 79(10) 102601.


Life is so remarkable, and so unlike any other physical system, that it is tempting to attribute special factors to it. Physics is founded on the assumption that universal laws and principles underlie all natural phenomena, but is it far from clear that there are 'laws of life' with serious descriptive or predictive power analogous to the laws of physics. Nor is there (yet) a 'theoretical biology' in the same sense as theoretical physics. Part of the obstacle in developing a universal theory of biological organization concerns the daunting complexity of living organisms. However, many attempts have been made to glimpse simplicity lurking within this complexity, and to capture this simplicity mathematically. In this paper we review a promising new line of inquiry to bring coherence and order to the realm of biology by focusing on 'information' as a unifying concept.

Astrobiology Primer 2.0. Astrobiology

Domagal-Goldman and Wright et al. (includes S.I. Walker ​and 45 others) (2016). 16(8):561-653.

Beyond Prebiotic Chemistry

L. Cronin and S.I. Walker (2016) Science 352: 1174-1175. DOI:10.1126/science.aaf6310


How can matter transition from the nonliving to the living state? The answer is essential for understanding the origin of life on Earth and for identifying promising targets in the search for life on other planets. Most studies have focused on the likely chemistry of RNA (1), protein (2), lipid, or metabolic “worlds” (3) and autocatalytic sets (4), including attempts to make life in the lab. But these efforts may be too narrowly focused on the biochemistry of life as we know it today. A radical rethink is necessary, one that explores not just plausible chemical scenarios but also new physical processes and driving forces. Such investigations could lead to a physical understanding not only of the origin of life but also of life itself, as well as to new tools for designing artificial biology.

The Informational Architecture of the Cell

S.I. WalkerH. Kim and P.C.W. Davies (2016). Phil Trans A. 2016 374 20150057; DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0057