Complex Systems

Lenia: Biology of Artificial Life Download PDF

Bert Wang-Chak Chan
Hong Kong


A new system of artificial life called Lenia (from Latin lenis “smooth”), a two-dimensional cellular automaton with continuous spacetime state and generalized local rule, is reported. Computer simulations show that Lenia supports a great diversity of complex autonomous patterns or “life forms” bearing resemblance to real-world microscopic organisms. More than 400 species in 18 families have been identified, many discovered via interactive evolutionary computation. They differ from other cellular automata patterns in being geometric, metameric, fuzzy, resilient, adaptive and rule generic.

Basic observations of the system are presented regarding the properties of spacetime and basic settings. A broad survey of the life forms is provided and categorized into a hierarchical taxonomy, and their distribution is mapped in the parameter hyperspace. Their morphological structures and behavioral dynamics are described, and possible mechanisms of their self-organization, self-direction and plasticity are proposed. Finally, the study of Lenia and how it would be related to biology, artificial life and artificial intelligence is discussed.

Keywords: artificial life; geometric cellular automata; complex system; interactive evolutionary computation

Cite this publication as:
B. W.-C. Chan, “Lenia: Biology of Artificial Life,” Complex Systems, 28(3), 2019 pp. 251–286.