Sunday, February 1, 2009
Weisberg on Models of Cognitive Labor in Science
Anyone who enjoyed the old cellular automata game of Life will have fun with the Java application that Michael Weisberg has made available on his webpage. Here Weisberg gives a small piece of the broader research project that he has been carrying out with Ryan Muldoon concerning how to understand the division of labor in successful scientific communities. As explained here the approach adopts a landscape approach where regions correspond to research strategies, and where different regions have different levels of epistemic significance. In the model agents then explore these landscapes according to different strategies. A preliminary result is that populations of "mavericks" who deliberately avoid regions explored by others do best. While the significance of this for the original question is not entirely clear, this is certainly an exciting way to investigate the issue!