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Virtual Evolution

JMcKinley
Posts: 314
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8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
http://www.financialexpress.com...

I thought this was interesting and wanted to share. Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques. They think its because it removes the less "evolveable" groups from the overall population leaving behind more resources for the most "evolveable" groups to do their thing.

Machine learning absolutely fascinates me. I imagine that this discovery will yield improvements in machine learning across the entire field.

Also I wonder how well this phenonemon correlates to biological mass extinctions. It would be interesting to see a report on that. A couple examples come to mind such as the rise of mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the rise of humans after the extinction of most other hominids. But I don't know enough details about the evolution timelines to know if those examples are valid.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/14/2015 9:51:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
http://www.financialexpress.com...
Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques.

That is interesting, J. Thank you for posting!

For the interest of members, evolutionary algorithms were first proposed by celebrated codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing in 1950, and workable methods first developed later that decade. Nowadays, they're very common in machine learning, and can be used to explore design optimisation problems (like this NASA 'Evolved antenna' [https://en.wikipedia.org...]), to create extraordinary art and music (e.g. in see video linked right for art, and this link for music [http://darwintunes.org...]), and of course to explore evolution itself.

Pertinently to mass extinctions, it has been known to biology since the 1940s that if you take a small subset of a population and move them to a new environment, they can evolve far more rapidly than does the parent population itself. This so-called 'founder effect' [https://en.wikipedia.org...] is well illustrated in the lizards of the Croatian island of Pod Mrcaru. In 1971, scientists introduced five adult pairs of lizards from a neighbouring island just to watch their evolution. A mere 36 years later, they had developed new organs including a reconfigured stomach and intestine suited to a more vegetarian diet, a reconfigured jaw, and changes to their social and behavioural structures, accomplishing in only 30 generations what can sometimes take hundreds of thousands of years or longer to accomplish. [http://science.jburroughs.org...]

While this was the result of a migration rather than mass extinction, it can illustrate a mechanism by which the species surviving an extinction event may have a profound impact on the innovations shown in descendants.

[Which makes me wonder -- does something similar happen in the arts at times? What happens to art during periods of immigration, colonisation or conquest?]

I hope that may be of interest.
Alpha3141
Posts: 154
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8/15/2015 12:34:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
http://www.financialexpress.com...

I thought this was interesting and wanted to share. Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques. They think its because it removes the less "evolveable" groups from the overall population leaving behind more resources for the most "evolveable" groups to do their thing.

Machine learning absolutely fascinates me. I imagine that this discovery will yield improvements in machine learning across the entire field.

Also I wonder how well this phenonemon correlates to biological mass extinctions. It would be interesting to see a report on that. A couple examples come to mind such as the rise of mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the rise of humans after the extinction of most other hominids. But I don't know enough details about the evolution timelines to know if those examples are valid.

I knew it, machines will take over the world!
Otokage
Posts: 2,352
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8/15/2015 8:58:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
http://www.financialexpress.com...

I thought this was interesting and wanted to share. Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques. They think its because it removes the less "evolveable" groups from the overall population leaving behind more resources for the most "evolveable" groups to do their thing.

Machine learning absolutely fascinates me. I imagine that this discovery will yield improvements in machine learning across the entire field.

Also I wonder how well this phenonemon correlates to biological mass extinctions. It would be interesting to see a report on that. A couple examples come to mind such as the rise of mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the rise of humans after the extinction of most other hominids. But I don't know enough details about the evolution timelines to know if those examples are valid.

Interesting post. However, while I also believe mass extinctions put at the service of the survivors previously inaccessible ecological niches, and therefore they increase in diversity (adaptive divergence expected, etc), it also eliminates selective agents (in many cases, I expect now extinct animals were former agents of natural selection acting over the population sample, and thus contributing to the rapid evolution of a character) so on the other hand I believe a slowdown in the evolutionary process can also be expected in this context, don't u think?
August_Burns_Red
Posts: 1,253
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8/15/2015 9:44:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
http://www.financialexpress.com...

I thought this was interesting and wanted to share. Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques. They think its because it removes the less "evolveable" groups from the overall population leaving behind more resources for the most "evolveable" groups to do their thing.

Machine learning absolutely fascinates me. I imagine that this discovery will yield improvements in machine learning across the entire field.

Also I wonder how well this phenonemon correlates to biological mass extinctions. It would be interesting to see a report on that. A couple examples come to mind such as the rise of mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the rise of humans after the extinction of most other hominids. But I don't know enough details about the evolution timelines to know if those examples are valid.

hey Mack good to see ya. yeah that stuff fascinates me too. have you seen this video? it kinda wen viral a few months ago. I think its almost spooky how real this robots reaction and balance is. the brainiacs at Google made it I think. good post, thanks!

http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Tomorrow's forecast: God reigns and the Son shines!
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
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8/18/2015 11:10:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/14/2015 9:51:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/14/2015 1:37:59 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
http://www.financialexpress.com...
Basically they're using an evolution inspired algorithm to develop improved walking techniques for a robot. And they've discovered that if you introduce mass extinctions into this virtual evolution that it actually speeds up the development of new and improved walking techniques.

That is interesting, J. Thank you for posting!

For the interest of members, evolutionary algorithms were first proposed by celebrated codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing in 1950, and workable methods first developed later that decade. Nowadays, they're very common in machine learning, and can be used to explore design optimisation problems (like this NASA 'Evolved antenna' [https://en.wikipedia.org...]), to create extraordinary art and music (e.g. in see video linked right for art, and this link for music [http://darwintunes.org...]), and of course to explore evolution itself.



Pertinently to mass extinctions, it has been known to biology since the 1940s that if you take a small subset of a population and move them to a new environment, they can evolve far more rapidly than does the parent population itself. This so-called 'founder effect' [https://en.wikipedia.org...] is well illustrated in the lizards of the Croatian island of Pod Mrcaru. In 1971, scientists introduced five adult pairs of lizards from a neighbouring island just to watch their evolution. A mere 36 years later, they had developed new organs including a reconfigured stomach and intestine suited to a more vegetarian diet, a reconfigured jaw, and changes to their social and behavioural structures, accomplishing in only 30 generations what can sometimes take hundreds of thousands of years or longer to accomplish. [http://science.jburroughs.org...]

While this was the result of a migration rather than mass extinction, it can illustrate a mechanism by which the species surviving an extinction event may have a profound impact on the innovations shown in descendants.

[Which makes me wonder -- does something similar happen in the arts at times? What happens to art during periods of immigration, colonisation or conquest?]

I hope that may be of interest.

It was of interest. I'd never heard about those lizards before. Thanks for sharing.