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Nematode sim fanciers open their worm to a Kickstarter

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The group that last year demonstrated open source software to simulate a nematode has gone on Kickstarter to try and accelerate its OpenWorm project.

As noted by The Register last May, the nematode is a good subject for simulation, being one of the world's least complex creatures. At that time, the project had got as far as showing five muscle groups of a C. elegans simulation moving in water.

Their aim is now much more ambitious: to build a complete, open source cloud-hosted WormSim for educators, scientists, supporters – and anyone else who's interested.

The 36 contributors to the code, which is available under the MIT license, have so far got as far as simple crawling (the code is at github here).

That's a bit less than a complete worm simulation, but the researchers are trying to work from a bottom-up perspective. Rather than programming the known behaviours of a nematode into software, they're trying to create the creature on a cell-by-cell basis, in the hope that behaviours will emerge from the detail of the simulation.

With two weeks to go, the project has so far raised $US32k of its $US120,000 target. The OpenWorm site is here, and its Kickstarter page is here. ®

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