Computer Science and Evolution

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Dev
Atheist Ireland Member
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Computer Science and Evolution

Post by Dev » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:10 pm

http://megaswf.com/serve/102223/

Evolution is often thought of as biological concept. It's not. It can be observed throughout nature - ever wonder why so many galaxies or solars systems are so diverse yet fundamentally the same? It can have an infinite number of applications. This is a fun demonstration and all the principals are there - environment, inheritance, mutation, adaption, selection et cetera.
bipedalhumanoid
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Re: Computer Science and Evolution

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:24 am

Dev wrote:http://megaswf.com/serve/102223/

Evolution is often thought of as biological concept. It's not. It can be observed throughout nature - ever wonder why so many galaxies or solars systems are so diverse yet fundamentally the same? It can have an infinite number of applications. This is a fun demonstration and all the principals are there - environment, inheritance, mutation, adaption, selection et cetera.
Genetic algorithms are nothing new of course. I developed one back in the late 90s/early 00s as part of a commercial software application. At their simplest, they're used to solve combinatorial optimisation problems. These include the traveling salesman problem, the most efficient circuit board print, or given population spread and topography data, where should I put a radio mast in order to reach the greatest number of people.

The idea is that, in cases where the total number of possibile solutions is too high to consider calculating & comparing all of them (ie. exponential), you can cut through the vast majority of them with a goal of arriving at a solution that is within the top 1% of possible solutions.

They're good when used in the right context. They're a disaster when not used in the right context.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
Mirthomaniac
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Re: Computer Science and Evolution

Post by Mirthomaniac » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:17 pm

I came across that genetic algorithm on this site. I think I came across that site because not too long ago I had thoughts of becoming some kind of computer programmer. Ended up focusing on writing fiction as my hobby. To this day I regret not taking up a language at 15, like the guy who founded the site said anyone could.

Anyway the only experience I've had first hand with computer science and evolution is with the well known 'Blind Watchmaker' software, programmed by Richard Dawkins. I'd say everyone with even the vaguest of interests in the subject knows all about it. We had to use it to evolve a lobster and a starfish as part of a lab practical. Having read the book, I was actually excited to see it 'in action', so to speak. Sadly, sitting in a computer lab on a Friday afternoon for an inordinate amount of time trying to get a five-pointed echinoderm was not all that satisfying. Especially when Dawkins himself says it's impossible in the afterword of the damn book!
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