Sunday, February 13, 2005


GAs dissed at remarkably unreactive

Blogger remarkably unreactive spends much of a remarkably uninformed post dissing GAs (and the engineers who make and use them). If only he knew about the many cool things GAs and GP are doing in his own field. I suppose I could post a set of interesting links to chemistry and material science applications of GAs and GP. Nah. Let him find his own way into that growing literature.

I wasn't commenting on GAs themselves, merely on how horrifically uninformative the article in MIT's Technology Review was. Hence how uninformed I was about the prospective uses.
I don't think the post was only about how informative the article was. I read it and I think that the author really missed the point here.

Bento-box said:
"Oh wait, we do this all the time in chemistry, its called Metropolis Monte Carlo Sampling, or Importance Sampling (in this case one pays attention to how far one can go in configuration space before falling off the map, allowing one to adjust the steps and eventually map the area), except instead of looking for the most efficient antennae we're looking for the lowest energy conformation (for example). Not only that, the idea is older than I am."

Yes, of course. This is what optimization is about---maximize or minimize something. Noone says optimization is a new concept, and many do it in physics, scheduling and many other fields. But the way evolutionary algorithms do this is quite different from the way other optimization methods do it. That is what makes them get lowest energies of systems where standard Monte Carlo methods would fail, for example.

I don't know why bento-box finds that shocking (or what he actually does find shocking in the aforementioned article).
Well you see sometimes people use hyperbole to accent humor. As in the article in question (Unnatural Selection from MIT Technology Review) was written in a way that, to me, seemed just a tad overexcited for the content it provided. By this I mean it was scant on content but bursting at the seams with enthusiasm. The enthusiasm was "carried over" to my own post, where I pointed out, to me, that there was little in the article to get all excited over.
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