It can be hard to find great live visualizations of the Genetic Algorithm, which is a popular and well studied method for providing adaptation to a Complex Adaptive System, but this is a superb example.
Created by Rafael Matsunaga, this “Genetic Algorithm 2-D Car Thingy” simulation takes polygons of varying parameters (initialized randomly) and gives each two “wheels” of varying sizes. All of the “cars” are dropped in to the environment and the most fit cars are selected for the next round.
This simulation is great because you can view it in a web browser (Rafael recommends chrome, but I have seen it work great in Safari, too) and it takes a very short amount of time to load. Rafael even gives you controls to modify the parameters. This is a great companion to any discussion on the Genetic Algorithm – even in biology discussions. It is very easy to see “survival of the fittest” in action!
Here is a link to Rafael’s project: