Faculty of Information Technology

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Information Technology



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit introduces Artificial Life (A-Life) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques used to model plant and animal behaviour and interactions, especially in the context of dynamic, virtual environments. It also explores, in general, the scope of A-Life and AI software as these relate to the construction of intelligent software agents for biological and ecological simulation, applications in interactive computer games and virtual environments. Topics including finite-state-machines, neural networks, L-systems, evolutionary computation, virtual ecosystems, basic and advanced search algorithms and cooperative strategies for agent behaviour will be studied. This unit builds upon previous programming skills, and provides a strong grounding for further study in this area. The unit employs the fundamentals of C++ programming within a UNIX-based environment.


At the completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. select, evaluate and apply A-Life and AI software techniques to model plants;
  2. select, evaluate and apply A-Life and AI software techniques to model animal behaviour;
  3. apply evolutionary algorithms to devise novel agents and understand their application, and that of other search algorithms, to problems requiring the search of a solution space;
  4. comprehend the scope, development and relevance of pioneering and current A-Life and AI software techniques;
  5. design, develop and debug applications written in C++ under a UNIX-based environment.


Examination (2 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: