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Ashby’s mobile homeostat

Battle, Steve



In Design for a Brain, W. Ross Ashby speculates about the possibility of creating a mobile homeostat " with its critical states set so that it seeks situations of high illumination. " This paper explores an embedding of Ashby's homeostat within a simulated robot and environment, exploring the question as to whether the classic (unmodified) homeostat architecture is able to adapt to this environment. Remaining faithful to the physical design of Ashby's device, this simulation enables us to quantitatively evaluate Ashby's proposition that homeostasis can be achieved through ultrastability. Following his law of requisite variety, increasing the number of units increases the time taken to reach equilibrium, and conversely, reducing internal connectivity reduces the time taken to reach equilibrium.


Battle, S. (2014, November). Ashby’s mobile homeostat. Paper presented at Artificial Life and Intelligent Agents 2014, Bangor, Wales, UK

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Artificial Life and Intelligent Agents 2014
Conference Location Bangor, Wales, UK
Start Date Nov 5, 2014
End Date Nov 6, 2014
Publication Date Nov 1, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Ashby, homeostat, cybernetics
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Publisher URL
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Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Artificial Life and Intelligent Agents 2014