Abstract– A new view of disk evolution is emerging from self-consistent numerical simulation modeling of the formation of circumstellar disks from the direct collapse of prestellar cloud cores. This has implications for many aspects of star and planet formation, including the growth of dust and high-temperature processing of materials. A defining result is that the early evolution of a disk is crucially affected by the continuing mass loading from the core envelope, and is driven into recurrent phases of gravitational instability. Nonlinear spiral arms formed during these episodes fragment to form gaseous clumps in the disk. These clumps generally migrate inward due to gravitational torques arising from their interaction with a trailing spiral arm. Occasionally, a clump can open up a gap in the disk and settle into a stable orbit, revealing a direct pathway to the formation of companion stars, brown dwarfs, or giant planets. At other times, when multiple clumps are present, a low mass clump may even be ejected from the system, providing a pathway to the formation of free-floating brown dwarfs and giant planets in addition to low mass stars. Finally, it has been suggested that the inward migration of gaseous clumps can provide the proper conditions for the transport of high-temperature processed solids from the outer disk to the inner disk, and even possibly accelerate the formation of terrestrial planets in the inner disk. All of these features arising from clump formation and migration can be tied together conceptually in a migrating embryo model for disk evolution that can complement the well-known core accretion model for planet formation.