55 posts · 10,587 views
This is the blog of the evolutionary games group that launched as an extension of the earlier evolutionary game theory reading group at McGill University. It is organized by Artem Kaznatcheev and collaborates closely with Thomas R. Shultz‘s Laboratory for Natural and Simulated Cognition. We are primarily interested in the evolution of ethnocentrism, the interplay of evolution and cognition, and the effects of network topology on evolutionary simulations. Our reading concentrates on papers that apply nice analytic or computational models to questions in EGT. If you are interested in contributing to this project then feel free to email me!
by Forrest Barnum in Evolutionary Games Group
What is history? And what, if any, are its practical uses? These are the questions I’ve been pondering since being introduced to Cliodynamics – which claims to make history into “an analytical, predictive science.” To that end, I wish to address two questions: is it possible to make history into “an analytical, predictive science?” And is […]... Read more »
When you typically think of computer scientists working on questions in biology, you probably picture a bioinformatician. Although bionformatics makes heavy use of algorithms and machine learning, and its practitioners are often mildly familiar with computational complexity (enough to know that almost everything they study is NP-complete), it doesn’t really apply computational thinking to understand […]... Read more »
Big data is the buzzword du jour, permuting from machine learning to hadoop powered distributed computing, from giant scientific projects to individual social science studies, and from careful statistics to the witchcraft of web-analytics. As we are overcome by petabytes of data and as more of it becomes public, it is tempting for a would-be […]... Read more »
Chattopadhyay, Ishanu, Wen, Yicheng, & Ray, Asok. (2010) Pattern Classification In Symbolic Streams via Semantic Annihilation of Information. American Control Conference. arXiv: 1008.3667v1
One of the three goals of natural algorithms is to implement computers in non-electronic media. In cases like quantum computing, the goal is to achieve a qualitatively different form of computing, but other times (as with most biological computing) the goal is just to recreate normal computation (or a subset of it) at a different […]... Read more »
Cardelli L, & Csikász-Nagy A. (2012) The cell cycle switch computes approximate majority. Scientific Reports, 656. PMID: 22977731
I often think of myself as an applied mathematician — I even spent a year of grad school in a math department (although it was “Combinatorics and Optimization” not “Applied Math”) — but when the giant systems of ODEs or PDEs come a-knocking, I run and hide. I confine myself to abstract or heuristic models, […]... Read more »
Shoval O, Goentoro L, Hart Y, Mayo A, Sontag E, & Alon U. (2010) Fold-change detection and scalar symmetry of sensory input fields. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(36), 15995-6000. PMID: 20729472
For computer scientists, ants are most familiar from ant colony optimization. These algorithms rely on simulating how ants lay, follow, and modify pheromone trails to find efficient paths from their hives to food sources. Hence, it might come as a surprise that this is not a universal feature of ants. The cataglyphis niger desert ant […]... Read more »
Feinerman, O., & Korman, A. (2012) Memory Lower Bounds for Randomized Collaborative Search and Implications to Biology. 26th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC). DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-33651-5_5
With the development of statistical mechanics, physicists became the first agent-based modellers. Since the scientists of the 19th century didn’t have super-computers, they couldn’t succumb to the curse of computing and had to come up with analytic treatments of their “agent-based models”. These analytic treatments were often not rigorous, and only a heuristic correspondence was […]... Read more »
Patient M: It’s impossible —- no one could urinate into that bottle -— at least no woman could. I’m furious with her [these are the patient's emphases] and I’m damned if I am going to do it unless she gives me another kind of bottle. It’s just impossible to use that little thing. Analyst: It […]... Read more »
Fehr, E., & Schmidt, K. (1999) A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(3), 817-868. DOI: 10.1162/003355399556151
A Science publications is one of the best ways to launch your career, especially if it is based on your undergraduate work, part of which you carried out with makeshift equipment in your dorm! That is the story of Thomas M.S. Chang, who in 1956 started experiments (partially carried out in his residence room in […]... Read more »
Today, I am passing through New York City on my way to Princeton’s Center for Computational Intractability for a workshop on Natural Algorithms and the Sciences (NA&S). The two day meeting will cover everything from molecular algorithms for learning and experiments on artificial cells to bounded rationality in decision-making and the effects of network topology […]... Read more »
by Thomas Shultz in Evolutionary Games Group
Artem Kaznatcheev and I presented a poster on May 4th at the University of British Columbia to a highly interdisciplinary conference on religion. The conference acronym is CERC, which translates as Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium. Most of the 60-some attendees are religion scholars and social scientists from North American and European universities. Many […]... Read more »
Kaznatcheev, Artem, & Shultz, Thomas R. (2011) Ethnocentrism maintains cooperation, but keeping one’s children close fuels it. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 3174-3179. info:/
Bacterial plasmids are nucleotide sequences floating in the cytoplasm of bacteria. These molecules replicate independently from the main chromosomal DNA and are not essential to the survival or replication of their host. Plasmids are thought to be part of the bacterial domain’s mobilome (for overview, see Siefert, 2009), a sort of genetic commonwealth which most, […]... Read more »
While speaking at TEDxMcGill 2009, Jan Florjanczyk — friend, quantum information researcher, and former schoolmate of mine — provided one of the clearest characterization of theoretical physics that I’ve had the please of hearing: Theoretical physics is about tweaking the knobs and dials and assumptions of the laws that govern the universe and then interpolating […]... Read more »
Gardner, A., & Conlon, J. (2013) Cosmological natural selection and the purpose of the universe. Complexity. DOI: 10.1002/cplx.21446
For over twenty-three hundred years, at least since the publication of Euclid’s Elements, the conjecture and proof of new theorems has been the sine qua non of mathematics. The method of proof is at “the heart of mathematics, the royal road to creating analytical tools and catalyzing growth” (Rav, 1999; pg 6). Proofs are not […]... Read more »
As part of our objective and subjective rationality model, we want a focal agent to learn the probability that others will cooperate given that the focal agent cooperates () or defects (). In a previous post we saw how to derive point estimates for and (and learnt that they are the maximum likelihood estimates): , […]... Read more »
Cooperation is a puzzle because it is not obvious why cooperation, which is good for the group, is so common, despite the fact that defection is often best for the individual. Though we tend to view this issue through the lens of the prisoner’s dilemma, Artem recently pointed me to a paper by Joanna Masel, […]... Read more »
A couple of weeks ago, if you randomly woke me in the middle of the night and demanded to know the fundamental difference between evolution and learning as adaptive processes, I would probably respond: “how did you get into my house? and umm… I guess they are mostly the same, it is just a matter […]... Read more »
Brenner, T. (1998) Can evolutionary algorithms describe learning processes?. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 8(3), 271-283. DOI: 10.1007/s001910050064
We have previously discussed the importance of population structure in evolutionary game theory, and looked at the Ohtsuki-Nowak transform for analytic studies of games on one of the simplest structures — random regular graphs. However, there is another extremely simple structure to consider: a family of inviscid sets. We can think of each agent as [...]... Read more »
Tarnita, C., Antal, T., Ohtsuki, H., & Nowak, M. (2009) Evolutionary dynamics in set structured populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(21), 8601-8604. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903019106
Last week, my father sent me a link to the 100 top-ranked specialties in the sciences and social sciences. The Web of Knowledge report considered 10 broad areas of natural and social science, and for each one listed 10 research fronts that they consider as the key fields to watch in 2013 and are “hot [...]... Read more »
Rendell L, Boyd R, Cownden D, Enquist M, Eriksson K, Feldman MW, Fogarty L, Ghirlanda S, Lillicrap T, & Laland KN. (2010) Why copy others? Insights from the social learning strategies tournament. Science, 328(5975), 208-213. PMID: 20378813
Like the agents they study, evolutionary economics is highly heterogeneous. Models are ad-hoc and serve as heuristic guides to specific problems. This is similar to theoretical biology, where evolutionary models are independent of each other. Even the general theory of inclusive fitness does not provide a non-controversial unifying framework. Although there is no single framework, evolutionary economists are united by four main assumptions about the world:... Read more »
Hodgson, G., & Huang, K. (2010) Evolutionary game theory and evolutionary economics: are they different species?. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 22(2), 345-366. DOI: 10.1007/s00191-010-0203-3
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