What Are GAs Good For?

Researchers studying the foundations of genetic algorithms have not, to the best of my knowledge, identified a non-trivial computational problem that a simple GA can solve robustly and scaleably (I’ve previously raised this issue here) . In my opinion, this singular fact is the most clear evidence for the inadequacy of current paradigm within which we understand/study the adaptive capacity of GAs—the question of what GAs are good for is, after all, intimately related to the question of how GAs work.

In a draft of one of my dissertation chapters I identify a hard computational problem and show that a GA can solve it robustly and scalably. Remarkably, this problem is closely related to a hairy statistical problem in computational biology. How might a GA leverage this kind of computational ability to perform adaptation? I’ll be presenting my theory about this in future chapters. The idea behind this theory is delightfully simple. Presenting it formally, however, is a another story. Stay tuned.

What Are GAs Good For?

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