From: Damien R. Sullivan <phoenix@ugcs.caltech.edu>

Date: Thu Dec 24 1998 - 14:01:43 PST

Date: Thu Dec 24 1998 - 14:01:43 PST

http://www.sff.net/people/Geoffrey.Landis/percolation.htp

Abstract

...

A model for interstellar colonization is proposed using the assumption

that there is a maximum distance over which direct interstellar

colonization is feasable. Due to the time lag involved in interstellar

communications, it is assumed that an interstellar colony will rapidly

develop a culture independent of the civilization that originally

settled it.

Any given colony will have a probability P of developing a colonizing

civilization, and a probability (1-P) that it will develop a

non-colonizing civilization. These assumptions lead to the

colonization of the gallaxy occuring as a percolation problem. In a

percolation problem, there will be a critical value of the percolation

probability, Pc. For P<Pc, colonization will always terminate after a

finite number of colonies. Growth will occur in "clusters," with the

outside of each cluster consisting of non-colonizing civilizations.

For P>Pc, small uncolonized voids will exist, bounded by

non-colonizing civilizations. When P is on the order of Pc,

arbitrarily large filled regions exist, and also arbitrarily large

empty regions.

An interesting paper, which avoids the "We're alone", "Colonization is

impossible", and "They're all avoiding us" solutions to the Fermi paradox.

It's not Transhumanly Correct, though: his assumptions seem to deny the

totipotence of Vingean Powers or Lem's HPLDs, and the concomittant ability to

arbitrarily manipulate matter and energy, and to colonize at arbitrary range.

He also waves away the von Neumann machine approach at the end.

-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-)

"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."

-- Kirien, the Jaran Heir, _Seeker's Mask_

Received on Thu Dec 24 13:59:17 1998

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