Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Highlights and Lowlights from CEC 2005

I just returned from CEC 2005 in lovely Edinburgh. I'll be honest in saying that I didn't get to attend much of the conference. However, I did see a couple of things I thought were worth sharing.

First, a highlight. David Wolpert gave a keynote on the 10th anniversary of the No Free Lunch theorem. It was very gratifying to see that Mr. Wolpert has no confusion about what's most interesting about NFL: the cases where it does not apply. In particular, he made some interesting comments on systems where you have biases about which problems are important, and systems where problems and solvers are co-evolved (Stuart Kaufman would be most gratified). In both cases, as one would expect, NFL need not apply. Wolpert also commented on how NFL is now being used as a defense of Intelligent Design. He shares my bemused disgust.

Second, a lowlight. I presented a poster (almost everything at CEC was a poster this time) entitled An Iterative Mutual Information Histogram Technique for Linkage Learning in Evolutionary Algorithms. The most common comment was "so, what's linkage?"

Still better to hear "so, what's the linkage" than "who cares about the linkage" :-) On a more serious note, I like the thoughts on NFL.
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