Avida-ED Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Avida-ED run on my computer?

2. Can I change environmental parameters during a run?

3. When I start a run with some organisms in the petri dish, why are they outlined in gray when I hit the run button?

4. If I change away from the Fitness viewer and back, why do the gray outlines around my ancestral organisms disappear?

5. Can I do more complicated experiments?


1. Will Avida-ED run on my computer?

Avida-ED 3.0 runs in a browser (Firefox and Chrome are recommened now, but eventually other browsers will be added) on Macs, PCs, and Chromebooks. It can run in a browswer on iPads and even mobile phones, though it the interface was not designed for a touch interface, so control is not optimal.


2. Can I change environmental parameters during a run?

Currently once you press the run button most of the controls on the Environmental Settings page are deactivated. The exception to this is that you can change the Pause Run setting at any time. In future versions of the program we hope to allow users to be able to change parameters on the fly.


3. When I start a run with some organisms in the petri dish, why are they outlined in gray when I hit the run button?

You must be running the old stand-alone Avida-ED applicaiont. In Avida-ED 1.0 and 2.0 one had to wait before organisms' properties were registered. These organisms existed but, since they had not had an offspring in this environment yet, we did not yet know their fitness. As such, we have to wait until they replicate to color them the appropriate color. In Avida-ED 3.0 we take advantage of faster processor speeds and calculate this information in advance, so that the display does not need to wait.


4. If I change away from the Fitness viewer and back, why do the gray outlines around my ancestral organisms disappear?

This is also an old behavior from Avida-ED 1.0 and 2.0. In those verions, the system will keep track of which cells ancestral organisms were placed in and outline them within the Fitness mode, but, for technical reasons, this information is discarded when one changes away from the Fitness viewer. As such, when you switch back, you will not see the outlines. Nevertheless, the ancestors have not disappeared. If you use the "Gestation Time" or "Ancestor" viewer mode you'll see that all the avidians are in the dish. Since they have not had an offspring in this environment yet, we do not yet know their fitness. As such, we have to wait until they replicate to color them the appropriate color in the Fitness viewer. As noted in the answer to Q3, in Avida-ED 3.0 this is no longer relevant.


5. Can I do more complicated experiments?

Avida-ED is designed to be simple and easy to use, but does have a limited number of parameters you can change. If you want to try experiments with more complicated set-ups you may want to download the research version of Avida at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/avida/.