Neural Network Drawing software
The latest episode of This Week in Virology posed an interesting question. A listener question (at about 20
minutes before the end) prompted the question of whether or not the similarities between biological viruses and computer viruses was close enough that it would be possible to create a truly evolving computer virus and if so whether it would develop in similar ways to real viruses.
I'm no virologist, but I did happen to do some research in neuro-evolution while I was a student at UT. I'm obviously no expert, but it's an interesting question that I have spend some time thinking about. The short answer is that the evolution of real computer programs doesn't really work. In my opinion, the problem is that of representation. Software instructions are very brittle. They cary out a specific set of instructions, and those instructions are so densely coded that almost all mutations or recombinations would yield completely non-functional programs. It's not even a question of reduced fitness - they simply wouldn't work. When all evolutionary paths result in death, evolution just doesn't have much to work with.
Source: /dev/notes - Norman Richards
Emergent Computing Methods in Engineering Design: Applications of Genetic Algorithms and Neural Networks (Nato ASI Series (closed) / Nato ASI Subseries F: (closed))
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