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Robert Slade: Suzana Celustka is part of the international virus research community. She became active in research while attending university in Prague, but comes originally from Croatia and is currently resident in Zagreb. In 1993 she attempted to spur development of a proper definition of a viral program (which still eludes researchers and writers) by promoting a virus definition contest. (She did put a bit of life into the proceedings by calling for definitions not only in text and mathematical forms, but also jokes and poetry.)

The lack of success in this area will be familiar to workers in the field of artificial life, who have had similar difficulties in delineating life. As it happens, this is another area of Ms. Celustka's interests, and in 1994 she started "Alive" magazine, distributed electronically, in order to examine the relation between computer viral programs and artificial life.

Two editions of the magazine have been published so far, with a third now in process. (The move back to Croatia and a period of ill health contributed to the delay.) "Alive 0" is stated to be the zeroth, or beta, edition, and explains the background of the project. It also contains the results of the first contest the definition of a computer virus in the technical categories. There are also articles on the "lifelike" characteristics of code for LAN token regeneration and on Cohen's theorem of the "undecidability" of viral detection.

In "Alive 1", Ms. Celustka contributes two articles herself, one on the nature and limitations of language (in regard to the problem of technical definition), and another on the "Grand Debate" about the benefits versus dangers of viral programs.

In addition to the feature and invited articles, each edition includes an interview with at least one (and usually more) researcher prominent in the field. The participants in "The Great Debate", for example, were Fred Cohen, Mark Ludwig and Vesselin Bontchev. The questions asked are incisive and insightful.

Alive represents very real explorations in both virus and artificial life research. The opinions and thought presented are sometimes radical departures from mainstream discussion. With careful moderation and editing, however, there is no chance of the "high noise/low signal" traffic one usually sees in many more well known fora. Alive is highly recommended for any interested in viral or artificial life studies.

(Full info)

alive10.zip9649Vol I, Issue 0Mar 1994(... More)MD5 sum cc9980ad611175b5ef3cf24015d19c04
alive11.zip39539Vol I, Issue 1Jul 1994(... More)MD5 sum e7b4d3810748f7a38043ec78faf423be
alive21.zip36199Vol II, Issue 1Jul 1995(... More)MD5 sum 59544684b22de8b615ba2cf709efe193

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