Are You Ready for a Challenge?

This tournament is a test.  A test to see how well you can evolve your Avidian to compete in head to head combat with another Avidian in different conditions.  Do you think you’re up to the challenge to see if you can make the Avidian to not only survive but to thrive in many different conditions with changing per site mutation rate, changing available resources, and where the offspring is placed?  Not only is this a tournament, it is a great learning opportunity and experience to better understand evolution for everyone.

What is Avida?

A spin-off of the artificial life program Avida, Avida-ED is designed for education through the creation, proliferation, and evolution of digital organisms. Each organism is a little piece of code that performs functions by utilizing resources, reproduces, and randomly mutates, just like a real organism. Avida-ED is not an evolution simulation; it is actual evolution. It was developed at Michigan State University for their undergraduate courses as a learning tool.

“Avida-ED is the educational version of Avida, a software platform created by a group of computer scientists and software engineers interested in the experimental study of digital organisms in order to better understand how biological evolution works. Both Avida and Avida-ED provide an instance of evolution in a model environment. The evolution itself is real; the digital organisms are subject to the same processes as biological organisms, such as reproduction, mutation, and natural selection. Scientists use Avida to study how digital organisms evolve and examine questions related to the evolution of complex features, sex, parasitism, cooperation, and foraging behavior. Avida has even been used to confirm the outcomes of ongoing biological experiments. This is possible because the process of evolution is ‘substrate neutral,’ meaning that when a system possesses three key characteristics –variation, inheritance, and selection –evolution will inevitably result.” -from the Avida-ED Lab Manual

 How do I make my organism?

Avida-ED can be found here. In the box on the left, navigate to the link called “Avida-ED”. This page includes both the link to the web version of Avida-ED and links for download.

Here are some useful links and tutorials for how to use Avida-ED


The tournament will be performed in a single-elimination bracket format. Each match will have two Avidians placed in the default positions. The winner will be declared as whoever has the majority at 1000 iterations. If no winner is obvious, we will go to overtime in increments of 500 iterations until a winner is declared. Each winner will move on to the next round of the tournament. Subsequent rounds after the first will have resources, offspring placement, and mutation rate randomly decided. The first round will consist of the resources NOT and NAN, offspring placed near the parent, and a 2% mutation rate. Conditions will be the same for all matches in the same round.

The winning Avidian will receive a grand prize donated by Cedar Crest’s Sustainability and Environmental Awareness Club!

All .zip files must be named in the following format:


To enter, please upload your Avidian to google drive linked below by Thursday, March 28 at 11:59 pm

For any questions, please contact Kassaundra Blodgett ( or Magdalena Dammer (

If you are having problems clicking the link or the link bringing you to the wrong place, please try to copy and paste it into the URL.