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Math Science

The Game Theory of Life 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the life-and-math dept.
An anonymous reader writes In what appears to be the first study of its kind, computer scientists report that an algorithm discovered more than 50 years ago in game theory and now widely used in machine learning is mathematically identical to the equations used to describe the distribution of genes within a population of organisms. Researchers may be able to use the algorithm, which is surprisingly simple and powerful, to better understand how natural selection works and how populations maintain their genetic diversity.
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The Game Theory of Life

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  • Two things (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kruach aum (1934852) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @03:24AM (#47269917)

    1. If the machine learning algorithm has been found to be mathematically identical to the genetic spread algorithm, how would biologists be able to use it to better understand natural selection and genetic diversity? What can they learn from the first algorithm that they couldn't learn from the one they already had? If the two algorithms are mathematically identical, aren't they both just different names for the same mathematical structure? Learning a cat is called neko in Japanese doesn't tell you anything about cats you didn't already know -- it just tells you something about the Japanese language.

    2. Are algorithms discovered, or created? If anything is discovered, the underlying mathematical structure more than one algorithm can point to seems to be a better candidate than the algorithms themselves. Fossils are discovered; algorithms are made up.

  • Re:Two things (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lfourrier (209630) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @03:55AM (#47269983)
    "algorithms are made up"

    succint unproven "fact" for a question that can give work to philosophers for a few years.

    are mathematics (of which algorythms are a small part) discovered or created ? No one has a clear answer to that question.
  • Novel, it is not (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jw3 (99683) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:24AM (#47271895) Homepage

    John Maynard Smith introduced the game theory to evolutionary biology in the early 70's. It was a breakthrough at that time, however today it is scarcely news. Evolutionary biology, and in especially population genetics has been a highly mathematized discipline ever since before WWII, when it was developed by Fisher, Wright and Haldane. Later you had Hamilton and Maynard Smith. It is nice that computer scientists noticed that something exciting is going on here, but don't fall for press releases and insubstantiated claims.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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