Hofstadter's copycat, more pythonically
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An implementation of Douglas Hofstadter's copycat algorithm. The copycat algorithm is explained on Wikipedia, and that page has many links for deeper reading.

This implementation is a copycat of Scott Boland's Java implementation, but re-written into Python. It's not a direct translation - but based on his code. I did not carry over the GUI, as this version can more usefully be run from command line, or imported for use by other Python scripts.

In cases where I could not grok the Java implementation easily I took ideas from the LISP implementation, or directly from Melanie Mitchell's "Analogy-Making as Perception"

I also tried to make the code more pythonic.


There are no particular installation instructions, just clone and run, e.g.

$ git clone https://github.com/jalanb/co.py.cat.git
$ cd co.py.cat/copycat
$ python main.py abc abd ijk


The script takes three arguments. The first two are a pair of triplets with some change, for example "abc" and "abd". The third is a triplet which the script should try to change analogously

For example the following invocation will probably display "ijl"

$ python main.py abc abd ijk


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See Also

  1. "The Copycat Project: An Experiment in Nondeterminism and Creative Analogies" by Hofstadter, Douglas
  2. "Analogy-Making as Perception" by Mitchell, Melanie
  3. Arthur O'Dwyer (Quuxplusone on GitHub) has further cleaned and extended this code in a fork available here.