Tuesday, May 31, 2005


GA-fuzzy researcher named dean at Alabama

Yesterday, Chuck Karr, noted researcher in combining fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms, was named to be the University of Alabama's dean of engineering (see here). I started my academic teaching career at Alabama from 1984 to 1990, and Chuck Karr was my first PhD graduate (1989). Chuck comes to the dean's job with stints as head of Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanics and as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Please join me in wishing Chuck Karr heartfelt congratulations and best of luck.


Soccer simulation with GAs and agents

The blog pessux (Pro Evolutionary Soccer at Sussex) is blogging on the development of a soccer learning and playing simulation that uses genetic algorithms and evolutionary computation. The team of developers is using a blog to document their progress, and they have been posting vigorously over the last week or so. The progress to this point is modest (getting the agents to move to one goal or the other), but some of the graphics is worth a look, and it will be interesting to follow the team's progress as the summer progresses.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Sailing season and genetic algorithms

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and for my family that means that it is the beginning of sailing season on Lake Michigan. Today we board our time-share lease 33-foot Beneteau sailboat Urdragon and go sailing at Fairwind Sailing in Burnham Harbor near the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Of course, readers of this blog are less interested in what I do in my spare time and are relentlessly interested in the world of genetic algorithms, so it is interesting that GAs are increasingly used in sailboat design, control, and navigation.

A quick Google search on yacht and genetic algorithms turns up many interesting links, but the first article on this topic I remember was some pretty cool work by Carlo Poloni. The study used multiobjective GAs and neural-net surrogate evaluation to optimize yacht design. A pdf of a 1999 presentation is here. I believe that Carlo's work on multiobjective GAs has formed the basis for design optimization software at an Italian firm called Enginsoft.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Android's Dream

I've been using Electric Sheep in my screensaver rotation for over a year, and I just now realized that it is a form of collaborative GA-based art.

I strongly recommend folks check it out. Warning, it will hypnotize the unsuspecting.


Let The AI Blog For You!

Since I'm busy bashing AI, have a look at Autoblogger, an AI program that does your blogging for you!

Make sure and check out the "real stories" of how it's generating most of the blogs everyone reads these days.

(Could Goldberg be using Autoblogger? Surely he can't have that much free time on his hands!)




An all-to-familiar item showed up in my blog in tray today. Londonist blogged:
There is something really beguiling about human Vs computer chess matches.

Despite the main elements being a bloke who plays chess and a very complicated bit of software, these kind of matchups somehow transcend simple geekiness.

Maybe we feel there's something lurking in these tournaments that holds the key to the future of the human consciousness: a profound kernel of truth that will maybe give us some clue to what lies at the end of that mysterious road marked 'Evolution'.

Well, and maybe not.

I'm often described as an "AI guy". But I actually hate the term artificial intelligence. It's largely indicative of the misplaced idea that rationale is the most unique and prized quality of man. Rubbish.

Chess program AI misses the point of the pursuit which most so-called AI guys are following. Dolphins, bee hives, and your slow-witted Uncle Jeeter don't play chess, yet they most certainly have the ephemeral quality that we deeply desire for our artificial creations.

In my opinion, that quality is about relationships and social context. I think Peirce and Searle, each in their own way, would agree.

I think that as our machines begin to show a familiar, yet perpetually novel complexity of interaction in our social context, they may begin to have the quality that most AI guys are really looking for.

I have no good ideas for alternate acronyms, though. Artificial friends and neighbors, perhaps?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Live from Shanghai II: ECN Workshop

I'm blogging live from Stephen Lu's ECN Workshop (Engineering as Collaborative Negotiation) in Shanghai. Stephen has also discovered postmodern thinking (see here) & Searle (see DEG 2004 paper here and Searle post here) and its relevancy to a new kind of systems engineering. Stephen's view is that to put people appropriately in the loop that we need to think of engineering activities as a kind of negotiated process among various stakeholders. I endorse the point of view, and although negotiation may be a bit limiting as a term, the intent is spot on. The schedule is an interesting one and the discussion has been quite interesting to this point. Hod Lipson's discussion of negotiation as co-evolution was particularly stimulating. Keep an eye on ECN and Lu's work.


Stochastic local search

The COMCEV '2005 has opened its doors. A small note on my way to lunch; Thomas Stützle presented and interesting overview on stochastic local search methods. The slides will be added soon to his home page.


Evolutionary self-replicating machines

Technology review news reports here that Hod Lipson and coworkers at Cornell have built simple modular robots that reproduce themselves:

The Cornell machines, dubbed Molecubes, measure 10 centimeters to a side and are split diagonally. Each cube half swivels on a motorized axel in 120-degree increments. The cube faces have electromagnets that strengthen and weaken to make and break connections with other cubes, and contacts that transfer communications and power between cubes.

The machines are powered through a base plate mounted on the floor of their enclosure, and they receive new cubes that the researchers place by hand in specific locations. Stacks of three and four cubes can assume a variety of shapes and, by following rules governing when and how to move after each contact with another cube, three- and four-cube machines can build copies of themselves. A three-cube machine takes just over a minute to reproduce; a four-cube machine takes two and a half minutes.

The researchers have also produced software simulations that show that self-replication is possible with larger numbers of cubes. The simulations were of seven- and eight-cube machines whose shapes and controllers were generated by an evolutionary algorithm

Now all that is to be done is build functional humanoid robots that reconfigure and repair themselves and say "asta la vista baby!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Live from Aguascalientes

After a funny trip that last from 36 hours instead of the 11 intended, I finally got to Aguascalientes (México). Felipe Padilla invited me to give a talk about the role of evolutionary computation in collaborative innovation and creativity at the Second Mexican Conference on Evolutionary Computation (COMCEV’2005). This is not a déjà vu or, as Carl Jung may call it, synchronicity. Dave Golberg is currently in Shangai giving a related talk too. Check his blog entry here. CONCEV'2005 is hosted this year at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes. Key note speakers for the conference are Francisco Herrera, Thomas Stützle, Katya Rodríguez Vázquez, and myself. Around thirty evolutionary computation papers will be presented in the conference.


AAAI Fall Symposium Hosts Symposia on Evolutionary, Adaptive and Anticipatory Systems and Mechanisms

Due to its strong impact over the recent years, I want to mention here in a main post that the AAAI Symposium series (fall symposium 2005) hosts at least two symposia that should be highly intersting for our community. Potter and Wiegand organize a symposium on coevolutionary and coadaptive systems. Castelfranchi, Balkenius, Butz, and Ortony host the symposium on Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems. The latter symposium also relates to our previous discussions on machine consciousness (see 1 and 2). Although the deadlines for full submissions have passed, I am sure that statements of interests as well as the consideration of participation are still very welcome.


Hierarchical BOA for military antenna design

A lot has been said about competent genetic algorithms, that is, genetic algorithms that can solve boundedly difficult problems quickly, accurately, and reliably. In the recent decade or so, a number of powerful competent genetic algorithms were proposed, including the extended compact genetic algorithm (ECGA) and the hierarchical Bayesian optimization algorithm (hBOA). Although much genetic algorithm community still sticks with the simple genetic algorithm with one-point crossover (for some reason), a number of interesting applications of competent genetic algorithms were published over the past several years.

Recently, an application of hBOA to the military antenna design caught my interest where the task is to optimize a novel, wideband overlapped subarray system to achieve -30-dB sidelobes over a 20% bandwidth. This work was done by the Illinois Genetic Algorithms Laboratory (IlliGAL) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). A number of researchers from IlliGAL and AFRL were involved in this collaborative project: Scott Santarelli, Tian-Li Yu, David E. Goldberg, Edward Altshuler, Teresa O'Donnell, Hugh Southall, and Robert Mailloux. The results show that while simple genetic algorithms fail to solve this problem, hBOA provides acceptable solutions as the problem difficulty increases. The results thus confirm that while for simple problems simple genetic algorithms may suffice, difficult problems necessitate the use of more advanced, competent, genetic algorithms.

For more information, check out IlliGAL report 2005013.


Genetic algorithms for distributed data storage systems

Recently I found an interesting article on the Government Computer News about the application of genetic algorithms to the task of distributing data across multiple machines. This work was done by Leana Golubchik, a professor of computer science at the University of Southern California, under NSF support. Few words from the article (a full version can be found here):

Looking for ways to ensure data stays intact on an experimental network, the group found that genetic algorithms provided a handy shortcut in determining how to distribute data across multiple machines, according to Leana Golubchik, a professor of computer science at the University of Southern California. Golubchik, who is a co-researcher on the project, presented the technology at this year's NSF-sponsored Digital Government Research conference held this week in Atlanta.

The findings stem from a data transfer technology called Bistro that the researchers have been working on for the past few years with support from NSF. Bistro would allow agencies to accept large amounts of data arriving simultaneously from many sources. Such a service could prove useful to agencies such as IRS, which sees an influx of material during tax deadlines.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Advice to my penguins: Learn Chinese

I just called home from Shanghai and talked to my older son Max. We were discussing colleges, and based on my impressions from this trip to China, I suggested that he learn Chinese (or some other Asian language) when he goes off to school. My other penguin, Zack, is hoping to sign up for Japanese at Uni High next year, and I think that was a good choice. Projections of future economic might often turn out to be wrong (projections of Japanese dominance of the world just a few years ago don't seem on the mark right now, for example), but economic growth + largest population + continuing globalization means that my children will probably be doing business in China, certainly Asia. They need to become familiar with some Asian language and they need to be comfortable in traveling in and dealing with Asian cultures.


Live from Shanghai

I'm sitting in the Everbright Hotel in Shanghai listening to Stephen Lu of USC talk about Functional Innovation. He hasn't referenced Searle explicitly, but his foundation for his talk is the whole infrastructure of Searle's argument on social reality. Not a bad lineup for a small conference. Nam Suh talked about axiomatic design yesterday, and Ralph Keeney talked about decision tradeoffs today. I'm on the schedule tomorrow to talk about computational innovation and invention. Lots of presentations and papers on collaborative systems and quite a few on evolutionary computations.


Call For Participation in the PSGEA-2005 Workshop at GECCO-2005

The Workshop on Parameter Setting in Genetic and Evolutionary Algorithms (PSGEA-2005) will take place at the ACM SIGEVO Genetic and Evolutionary Computation COnference (GECCO-2005), in Washington D.C., on Saturday, June 25, between 8:30 and 12:30 AM.

The workshop will start with an introduction by the organizers, followed by 6 talks, and will finish with a panel discussion. Attendance to the workshop is open to all GECCO attendees.

List of talks given at the workshop: The workshop is organized by Fernando Lobo and Claudio Lima, from University of Algarve, Portugal. We are looking forward to your participation.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


On way to Shanghai

I'm typing on a computer in the Yahoo cafe in Narita airport on my way to give a talk at the CIRP 2005 conference in Shanghai. The change in interconnectivity since I started coming to Japan is really astounding. Anyway, I may or may not be online much, so I'm depending on my other IlliGAL Blogging bloggers to pick up the slack while I'm away. If I continue to get good access, I'll try to blog every other day or so.

Friday, May 20, 2005


DISCUS article picked up by HPCwire

The DISCUS article by Trish Barker has been picked up by HPCwire. You can find a previous blog about the article here, and the HPCWire link here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


GA and Keyboard layout

This is an interesting site on how to optimize a keyboard layout using GA.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


DISCUS makes headlines at NCSA news

A recent article by Trish Barker in the Science Success Stories—a section of the Online Access of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) newsletters—reviews the usage of DISCUS on a real-world marketing research project. The article may be found here and the NCSA newsletters here. The experiment was also blogged on real time at the IlliGAL blog, and the post can be found here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Cool conference innovation

Hugh Hewitt was at PersonalDemocracyForum and noticed a cool innovation in audience interactivity:
but we did have the very interesting --in fact compelling—use of the projection of the forum chat room on the wall behind us. This made the audience a real participant in the conversation, especially the snarkiest of commentators. This is an evolution in conferences, and I urge its immediate adoption. If you don’t like being mocked by a live audience in real time, then don’t be a talking head. This innovation sure made for an interesting backdrop to the standard five microphones and a few hundred people in the audience panel.
Ooh, I like the idea of conference chats (and blogs?) going on during a conference, and then projecting them at the back of a panel discussion is even better. Might be a great way to spice up a GECCO workshop.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


What is General Engineering (GE)?

In a comment on an earlier post Nosophorus asks "What is General Engineering?" I'm glad you asked. General Engineering is my home department and the home department of the Illinois Genetic Algorithms Laboratory (IlliGAL). General Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) goes back to 1921, when a curriculum study at the behest of Chicago-area industrialists wondered why engineering education was tilting so heavily toward technical topics and away from the business topics necessary for success. A degree program was created to balance technical topics with topics useful in business such as law and economics. Subsequently the teaching mission of a department called General Engineering Drawing was merged this degree program to form the department now known as General Engineering.

During the Cold War, the GE degree took on a systems engineering flavor, and an MS degree was added in the 70s. More recently, a PhD has been added, but a PhD in General Engineering sounded like something of an oxymoron, so the PhD offered was called Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering (SEE). This degree is something of a cross of offerings in Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) at Stanford and the programs in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT.

The undergraduate program in General Engineering is one of the most popular at Illinois with nearly 600 undergraduate students. The new SEE degrees have attracted applicants from around the world, and is growing rapidly. More information is available on the GE website here.


Top 5 GA programs. . . in Brazil

In an earlier post, I asked readers to give me their recommendations of top-5 genetic algorithm (GA) programs. A few responded, but the most interesting was a list of top five GA programs. . . in Brazil (here). I'm not sure why, but a high proportion of the readership of this blog comes from the Portugese speaking world. I've had graduate students from Portugal in my lab many occasions, and I've visited Portugal a number of times, but I've never had occasion tovisit Brazil, an apparent hotbed of GA activity.


Educating a penguin, part III

Just read Loren Pope's Colleges that Change Lives as a follow on to reading his Looking Beyond the Ivy League (see here and here for earlier posts). CTCL lists 40 small colleges that have a record of providing transformative undergraduate experiences. Interestingly, many faculty members at Ivy League and other "top" schools choose to send their own children to the CTCL 40 or other small liberal-arts schools. The CTCL schools have banded together on this website and now cooperate to promote one another.


Blogging from GPTP

Unhinderedbytalent is blogging here about the Genetic Programming in Theory and Practice Workshop (GPTP-2005) held this weekend in Ann Arbor. IlliGAL's own Kumara Sastry is at the workshop, and perhaps he will blog a bit about workshop highlights.


GAs used to study protozoan glyoxalase pathway

The FEBS Journal has published the abstract of an article in which genetic algorithms (GAs) were used to study a protozoan glyoxalase pathway:

The glyoxalase pathway of Leishmania infantum was kinetically characterized as a trypanothione-dependent system. Using time course analysis based on parameter fitting with a genetic algorithm, kinetic parameters were estimated for both enzymes, with trypanothione derived substrates. A Km of 0.253 mM and a V of 0.21 µmol·min–1·mg–1for glyoxalase I, and a Km of 0.098 mM and a V of 0.18 µmol·min–1·mg–1 for glyoxalase II, were obtained.

The research was a collaboration between Portugese researchers at the University of Porto and the University of Lisbon.



Doctor Dobb's Journal has a current article in which a genetic programming (GP) code is implemented in SQL.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


IEC at WSTST2005

Six IEC papers will be presented at WSTST2005 held in 5/25-27.
Interesting feature is that four of them discuss how to reduce IEC user's fatigue, while the number of IEC application papers is much bigger than that of IEC interface papers in past conferences.


Evolving Computer Viruses

Steven Hofmeyr, chief scientist and founder of Sana Security, and former member of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, discusses the potential use of GAs in computer viruses to withstand human efforts of elimination. This possibility introduces a whole new level of more damaging viruses. He talks about the true mutation needed (sounds more GP'ish to me) to alter its own functionality. He does suggest, however, that such mutations might bring about something good - like a novel compression technique.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


25 pieces of advice for bloggers

John Hawkins has 25 pieces of advice for bloggers here. A number of them seem more apropos to blogs on less obscure topics than genetic algorithms, although 3 seems pretty generic:
If you're going to be putting up multiple posts and then not posting for a while, put the best post on top. The number of readers drops significantly the further they have to go down the page.
So does 4:
On the week-ends, expect your traffic to drop by roughly 40% whether you post or not.

A previous post about Hugh Hewitt's book Blog has a better list for getting started I think.

Monday, May 09, 2005


New Illigal Technical Reports

IlliGAL is pleased to announce the publication of following technical reports:

Butz, M.V., Pelikan, M., Llorà, X., Goldberg, D.E. (2005). Extracted Global Structure Makes Local Building Block Processing Effective in XCS. IlliGAL Report No. 2005010. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Butz, M.V., Pelikan, M., Llorà, X., Goldberg, D.E. (2005). Automated Global Structure Extraction For Effective Local Building Block Processing in XCS. IlliGAL Report No. 2005011. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Lanzi, P.-L., Loaicono, D., Wilson, S. W., Goldberg, D. E. (2005). Generalization in the XCSF Classifier System: Analysis, Improvement, and Extension. IlliGAL Report No. 2005012. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Santarelli S., Yu, T.-L., Goldberg D. E., Altshuler E., O’Donnell T., Southall H., Mailloux R. (2005). Military Antenna Design Using Simple and Competent Genetic Algorithms. IlliGAL Report No. 2005013. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Yu, T.-L., Yassine, A., Goldberg, D.E. (2005). An Information Theoretic Method for Developing Modular Architectures Using Genetic Algorithms. IlliGAL Report No. 2005014. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Yassine, A., Goldberg, D.E., Yu, T.-L. (2005). Simple Models of Hierarchical Organizations. IlliGAL Report No. 2005015. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Yu, T.-L., Sastry, K., Goldberg, D.E. (2005). Linkage Learning, Overlapping Building Blocks, and a Systematic Strategy for Scalable Recombination. IlliGAL Report No. 2005016. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Yu, T.-L., Sastry, K., Goldberg, D.E. (2005). Online Population Size Adjusting Using Noise and Substructural Measurements. IlliGAL Report No. 2005017. (Abstract) (Full paper in PS) (Full paper in PDF)

Other IlliGAL technical reports and publications are available here.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Blogging memetic algorithms

Thesilog is blogging on memetic algorithms here and here. I'm not actually very fond of the term "memetic algorithms," which are really nothing more than GAs hybridized with some other sort of search. The GA learns in "evolutionary" time, and the other search learns in "cultural" time, and since culture is involved, the learning involves the exchange of "memes," hence the term "memetic" algorithms. All sounds a bit too fancy for a GA/local-search hybrid.

Having said that, I am fond of hybrids for many if not most industrial-strength GA applications. We've worked a bit on the theory of local-global hybrids (see post here and tech report here), and more needs to be done, but in practice hybrids are a good way to get the broad perspective of a GA together with the local convergence speed of a domain-appropriate local searcher.


Symbiot uses GAs for adaptive network security

A press release on Businesswire reports new technology by Symbiot, a maker of intelligent security infrastructure management systems:

Symbiot utilizes proprietary genetic algorithms to measure, manage and mitigate risk to your networked assets. Through Symbiot.NET, Symbiot's customers benefit from adaptive profiles defined from industry groups, and other Symbiot customers for community centric security; a new approach to mitigating risk. Symbiot provides solutions that unify your existing security infrastructure to proactively respond to business critical issues while communicating security events across your entire organization clearly and effectively.

A number of technical white papers are available here.


Registration up: Biggest, best GECCO ever?

Although I'm not authorized to release the actual registration figures (if I tell you, I must kill you), I can say that same-time registrations for the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2005) to be held in Washington, DC, June 25-29, 2005 (Saturday-Wednesday) are up almost 20% over 2004 figures. This suggests that we may have the biggest GECCO ever, and judging by the papers, workshops, and tutorials, we already have the highest quality conference in the field lined up. With museums and attractions in DC, a large, diverse, and high quality conference, 20th year birthday party for the field of genetic and evolutionary computation, and first-time affiliation with ACM as SIGEVO, this year's GECCO should not be missed.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


NuTech Solutions raises funds

NuTech Solutions raised $1.5 million dollars through a private placement of stock. In the process it completed a buyout of co-founder Zbigniew Michalewicz and his son Matt (former CEO and founder). The full press release is available here. Hat tip to Julian Garcia at Evolutionary Computation.


Moneyscience picks up on OBUPM Workshop

Moneyscience has posted the announcement of the Optimization by Building and Using Probabilistic Models Workshop (OBUPM-2005) to be held at GECCO-2005 on Sunday, June 26, 2005. A fair amount of work in IlliGAL is in this area, and many IlliGAL researchers and former researcher are participating in this workshop. See the program here. Better yet, go sign up for GECCO (here), and attend OBUPM as well as the greatest GA show on earth.


Top five GA programs?

El mundo de adan posted a list of schools with good programs in genetic algorithms. Here is the list with El mundo de adan's comments:

Someone wanting to stay in Rochester might talk to Al Biles at Rochester Institute of Technology. Someone wanting to stay in the States, hmmmmm (let me think about that), maybe, just maybe might consider (drum roll please) Illinois! Although IlliGAL is in a department called General Engineering, most of the PhD students are in CS, and the little ole director has an affiliates appointment in CS.

We leave it as an exercise to IlliGAL Blogging readers to add their favorite nominations for GA-friendly schools in the US and around the world. Go ahead and give your top five in the comments section.


Oops! Email lowers IQ more than marijuana

CNN reports the results of a British study in which workers distracted by Email, phone calls, and IM suffered an IQ loss greater than that suffered by a person smoking marijuana:

In 80 clinical trials, Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King's College London University, monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day.

He found the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points -- the equivalent to missing a whole night's sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana.

"This is a very real and widespread phenomenon," Wilson said. "We have found that this obsession with looking at messages, if unchecked, will damage a worker's performance by reducing their mental sharpness.

This raises the unsettling possiblity that perhaps the postmodern equivalent of walking and chewing bubble gum has become IMing and smoking a joint. Hat tip to IFTF Future Now.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Towards Distinguishing Levels of Consciousness

In reply to Goldberg’s post on “Towards Conscious Machinery”, I will discuss herein what we might want to term conscious and, more importantly, which states of consciousness might be worth distinguishing.

Goldberg agrees to the general conjecture that we need a body and an interactive system that is able to manipulate and perceive the own body, as well as perceive manipulations by other entities in the environment. Goldberg does not agree to the need for symbolic-like representations or other further structuring capabilities for consciousness experience.

I believe that we may need to distinguish the type of consciousness we are referring to, in order to be able to further discuss, which mechanisms are mandatory for conscious experience.

For the lowest level of machine consciousness, the one we might be willing to attribute to our dog-and possibly most other mammals and potentially even birds (see e.g. a short article in Nature, 430, 414-414 (22 Jul 2004) on the social capabilities of birds), language capabilities are certainly not necessary. But it needs to be asked, which levels of consciousness are these animals able to reach and what is the fundamental difference between such probable lower-level consciousness experiences and our more expressible experiences of consciousness?

O’Regan and Noë provide a potential answer in their article A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2001, 24(5), 939-1011.
For them, feelings arise out of the sensory-motor contingencies that everybody experiences in everyday life. That is, the continuous anticipation of what may come next and the continuous experience of what did actually come next (that is, how the world changed – partially induced by our own actions) results in the experience of feelings and low-level consciousness for that matter. Clearly, such feelings then are reflected upon in dreams (including dreams in mammals and potentially birds) so that this feeling may be sufficient to be termed consciousness in the Searlean sense of "those states of sentience or awareness that typically begins when we wake up from a dreamless sleep", as Goldberg cited.

However, higher states of consciousness require more abstract processing capabilities in my opinion. As also pointed out in the above mentioned article on bird intelligence, it is probably not sufficient to be conscious and reflective without a significant social component such as the capability of distinguishing other individuals – effectively improving the interaction and overcoming an (iterated) prisoner’s dilemma by remembering and distinguishing the different interactions with others. To do so, more abstract symbolic like processing is mandatory tagging other individuals with behavioral properties. The distinction then may lead to the more concrete perception and internal representation of oneself being yet another (certainly with the very special property of selfness) individual.

Language capabilities are yet another stage in this process that enable us to gain even more abstract representations and allows us to reflect upon ourselves and our environment on much higher levels of abstraction in time (predictive) and space (object and modular oriented). Hereby, it is important that language is yet another level of abstraction – grammar emerges out of the coevolution of social language, our environment, and our brain capabilities as Deacon points out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Invitation to the OBUPM-2005 Workshop at GECCO-2005

The Optimization by Building and Using Probabilistic Models (OBUPM-2005) workshop will take place at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2005 (GECCO-2005) in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 26, 2005 (2-6pm).

OBUPM-2005 is a half-day workshop organized by Joern Grahl (University of Mannheim in Germany), Kumara Sastry (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Martin Pelikan (University of Missouri at St. Louis). Participation at the workshop is open to all GECCO-2005 attendees. The workshop will contain 7 presentations:

Most of the presented material (and a lot more than that) will be published with Springer in an edited book on estimation of distribution algorithms, which will cover most important advances in this field (book editors: Erick Cantu-Paz, Kumara Sastry, and Martin Pelikan).

Monday, May 02, 2005


Educating a penguin: Part II

In an earlier post, I told the story of my college visit trip with my son Max. The saga continues, and we are in the middle of standardized testing and planning summer visits and such. To continue my education I read Loren Pope's controversial book, Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You. Although the book is 10-years old, and the data in the book is older than that, the author's premise that large name-brand universities are over-rated and that smaller less-well-known liberal arts schools do a better job educating at the undergraduate level is thought provoking and worth considering.

This post is not a tell-all confession by a large-university insider, but it is no secret that large research universities emphasize research. That small liberal arts schools might better educate undergraduates should come as no surprise. That statistical studies of PhD productivity and Who's Who prominence tilt in favor of a number of largely unheralded liberal arts schools were news to me.

As a result, Max and I need to get back on the road, and included in our visits will be some of these apparently life-transforming institutions. Where Max goes will be his choice, but we need to take a more informed look off the beaten track.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Human-Computer AI

Franz Dill has a post over at IFTF Future Now (note IFTF FN's new address) highlighting the use of Bayesian techniques from an article in Infoweek. What caught my eye in the Infoweek quote was the following:
Some of the new AI research also falls into an emerging niche of computer science: the intersection of artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.
Exactly. Trying to balance human-computer interaction is a key goal of DISCUS. The 4-quad chart (here) captures some of the possiblities in the space of choosing and creating.


Creationism and genetic algorithms

Sisu has a post relating work and genetic algorithms and genetic programming to arguments against creationism and intelligent design. Taking this subject up is probably a good way to drive more traffic to the site, but I've always thought that it was better to avoid such distractions and stick to our knitting. Work in GAs and GP can stand on its own two feet. Once we've plugged into the metaphor, we can push the envelope on how much artificial evolution and genetics can do in how short a time. I do agree with Barry Kearns of VekTor:

I've been frankly startled by the power and efficacy of the evolutionary process for solving problems, without even stating the nature of the problem itself to the solution engine. Watching powerful solutions arise out of the 'digital goo' in real time is downright spooky. And that's with relatively tiny population sizes.

But I'm not sure that anecdotal observation of GA performance is all that helpful in "settling" anything. If fossil records and increasingly detailed undestanding of genetics and cellular function down to the molecular level aren't persuasive, should we expect the caricature simulations of GAs and GP over evolutionary time scales to really turn the tide?

Having said this, understanding GA/GP time complexity, problem class appropriateness, and solution quality (see DoI) may be able to put to rest unsophisticated arguments equating natural evolution to simple random search. Moreover, these complexity arguments (with a good bit of work) might yield a detailed bound on the plausibility of the complexity of natural systems we now observe.


Tissue classification using GAs

zmed posts an abstract on a paper by researchers at the University of Tokyo that uses parallel genetic algorithms to classify tissues.
Several machine learning approaches have been used to aid to understand the functions of genes. However, these tasks are made more difficult due to the noisy nature of array data and the overwhelming number of gene features. In this paper, we use the parallel genetic algorithm to filter out the informative genes relative to classification. By combing with the classification method proposed by Golub et al. and Slonim et al., we classify the data sets with tissues of different classes, and the preliminary results are presented in this paper.

The full text of the paper is available here.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?