Thomas S. Ray

Thomas S. Ray bigraphy, stories - Zoologists

Thomas S. Ray : biography

Thomas S. Ray (also known as Tom Ray) is an ecologist who created and developed the Tierra project, a computer simulation of artificial life.

In 1975, he and Donald R. Strong were the first to propose the theory of skototropism in an article in the journal Science (190: 804-806), which he later worked into his senior thesis at Florida State University after conducting additional experiments. The thesis was expanded into his Ph.D. thesis at Harvard University.

He is currently Professor of Zoology and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Tom Ray is also a former member of the International Core War Society.

Cultural references

In The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons’s conclusion to his famous Hyperion Cantos sci-fi series, it is revealed by the character of Aenea that the TechnoCore originated from a human experiment in which computer programs were allowed to compete for resources (e.g. memory) and evolve accordingly. It is specified that the one responsible for it was Tom Ray, which possibly refers to the biologist’s Tierra project.