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Darwin is a game played between two or more computer programs which compete to become the most prolific digital organism.


Victor Vyssotsky invented Darwin on the IBM 7090 at Bell Labs in August 1961. The aim of the game is to write a program to probe memory for opponents, terminate any opponents found to free the space they occupy and replicate into the empty space. The program with the most copies running is declared the winner at the end of the game.


Organisms are written in the host computer's assembly language and interact with the umpire using three system calls:

  • PROBE - Returns the start, end and owner of a memory address
  • CLAIM - Reserves memory at address
  • KILL - Terminate the program at address

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