That's Life: Researchers in the field of artificial life will hold their sixth annual conference starting Friday at UCLA.

Artificial life is one of the most esoteric fields in computer science, combining research from biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics as well as computer science itself.

Researchers have been working on creating devices or simulations that try to imitate the ability of living systems to evolve, adapt and function autonomously.

The conference will include a performance by a group of robots, a demonstration of a digital ecology created by researchers at Caltech and the presentation of a variety of papers covering such topics as "Artificial Evolution of Visually Guided Foraging Behavior."

More information on the conference can be found at


* Online Banking: Does talk about online banking pique your interest? Before jumping in, head over to the Bank Rate Monitor.

In addition to rate information, the site has a section devoted to online banking. It raises questions you should ask before banking online, information on how to rectify problems, Internet banking deals (such as free checking), a how-to and a glossary of online banking terms. Point your browser to;=onlihome.

* Staying Current: Not sure if online banking is for you? Check out a Currents magazine story about it at http://www.currents .net/magazine /national/1610 /covr1610.html. Find out about the hurdles, the fees, the convenience, how to get started and "Why Online Banking Is Your Best Weapon."

* Banking on the Net: Although the Online Banking Report ( is designed for banking executives, you can use it to see what's happening in the industry. The monthly newsletter is for subscribers only, but who needs that when you can still get a list of the nation's 100 largest financial institutions, info on whether they have Web-based account access, and lists of "true" Internet banks and credit unions--those that allow you to check account information and make transactions.

* Where the Future Is: The Financial Services Technology Consortium ( is "where business and technology leaders build banking." What's that mean for you? A peek at projects designed to help institutions reduce paperwork, improve efficiency and enhance customer service. As for online banking, check out the Bank Internet Payment System--it tells you which banks are involved, what its mission is and the benefits of online banking.

* Industry Overseer: You might be interested to know what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is doing online. There's all sorts of information about documents, laws and regulations, banking info and statistics, directives and policies and what the FDIC is doing about the year 2000 problems.

Learn ways to determine whether an entity is FDIC-insured and what your rights are; peruse a list of insured institutions; check out the educational resources for students, teachers and parents; and read about "Suspicious Internet Banking." The FDIC is online at


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