Tuesday, February 22, 2005


GAs mentioned in networking book

ITworld.com has an interview with Max Goff, author of Network Distributed Computing: Fitscapes and Fallacies (Prentice-Hall) in which Goff mentions the possibility of evolving networks of distributed computers using genetic algorithms and genetic programming. He coins the term fitscapes as a contraction of the more familiar "fitness landscapes" in talking about distributed networks.

Althought Goff's argument is cast in evolutionary terms, his reasoning is more like that of Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations:
Goff: Well, it dawned on me that there were a lot of autonomous entities that were involved in the creation of software -- i.e., individuals and companies. But it also dawned on me that the good things that would probably happen with respect to software, if that fitscape model -- in other words, autonomous agents operating in their own best self interest -- if that sort of model were unleashed from a software perspective, that good things would happen. And part of what I discuss in the book are platforms that tend to give rise to that sort of organic behavior.

The only thing missing is the invisible hand. Although GAs, GP, and EC generally are useful technology, their influence as metaphor for reasoning about population-oriented systems is perhaps just as important.

invisible hand = ~ selection
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