114 posts · 47,006 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!
As you can guess from the name, evolutionary game theory (EGT) traces its roots to economics and evolutionary biology. Both of the progenitor fields assume it impossible, or unreasonably difficult, to observe the internal representations, beliefs, and preferences of the agents they model, and thus adopt a largely behaviorist view. My colleagues and I, however, […]... Read more »
Kaznatcheev, A., Montrey, M., & Shultz, T.R. (2014) Evolving useful delusions: Subjectively rational selfishness leads to objectively irrational cooperation. Proceedings of the 36th annual conference of the cognitive science society. arXiv: 1405.0041v1
A large chunk of machine learning (although not all of it) is concerned with predictive modeling, usually in the form of designing an algorithm that takes in some data set and returns an algorithm (or sometimes, a description of an algorithm) for making predictions based on future data. In terminology more friendly to the philosophy […]... Read more »
Bailey, D., Borwein, J., de Prado, M.L., & Zhu, Q. (2014) Pseudo-Mathematics and Financial Charlatanism: The Effects of Backtest Overfitting on Out-of-Sample Performance. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 61(5), 458. DOI: 10.1090/noti1105
Much of my undergrad was spent studying physics, and although I still think that a physics background is great for a theorists in any field, there are some downsides. For example, I used to make jokes like: “soft isn’t the opposite of hard sciences, easy is.” Thankfully, over the years I have started to slowly […]... Read more »
Lazer, D., Kennedy, R., King, G., & Vespignani, A. (2014) Big data. The parable of Google Flu: traps in big data analysis. Science, 343(6176), 1203-1205. PMID: 24626916
In 1936, Alonzo Church, Alan Turing, and Emil Post each published independent papers on the Entscheidungsproblem and introducing the lambda calculus, Turing machines, and Post-Turing machines as mathematical models of computation. A myriad of other models followed, many of them taking seemingly unrelated approaches to the computable: algebraic, combinatorial, linguistic, logical, mechanistic, etc. Of course, […]... Read more »
Dershowitz, N., & Gurevich, Y. (2008) A natural axiomatization of computability and proof of Church's Thesis. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 14(3), 299-350. DOI: 10.2178/bsl/1231081370
The workshop on computational theories of evolution started off on Monday, March 17th with Leslie Valiant — one of the organizers — introducing his model of evolvability (Valiant, 2009). This original name was meant to capture what type of complexity can be achieved through evolution. Unfortunately — especially at this workshop — evolvability already had […]... Read more »
If you look at your typical computer science department’s faculty list, you will notice the theorists are a minority. Sometimes they are further subdivided by being culled off into mathematics departments. As such, any institute that unites and strengthens theorists is a good development. That was my first reason for excitement two years ago when […]... Read more »
Angelino, E., & Kanade, V. (2014) Attribute-efficient evolvability of linear functions. Proceedings of the 5th conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science, 287-300. DOI: 10.1145/2554797.2554824
As Philip Gerlee pointed out, mathematical oncologists has contributed two main focuses to cancer research. In following Nowell (1976), they’ve stressed the importance of viewing cancer progression as an evolutionary process, and — of less clear-cut origin — recognizing the heterogeneity of tumours. Hence, it would seem appropriate that mathematical oncologists might enjoy Feyerabend’s philosophy: […]... Read more »
I have an awkward relationship with mathematical oncology, mostly because oncology has an awkward relationship with math. Although I was vaguely familiar that evolutionary game theory (EGT) could be used in cancer research, mostly through Axelrod et al. (2006), I never planned to work on cancer. I wasn’t eager to enter the field because I […]... Read more »
Enzymes play an essential role in life. Without them, the translation of genetic material into proteins — the building blocks of all phenotypic traits — would be impossible. That fact, however, poses a problem for anyone trying to understand how life appeared in the hot, chaotic, bustling molecular “soup” from which it sparked into existence […]... Read more »
Can we describe reality? As a general philosophical question, I could spend all day discussing it and never arrive at a reasonable answer. However, if we restrict to the sort of models used in theoretical biology, especially to the heuristic models that dominate the field, then I think it is relatively reasonable to conclude that […]... Read more »
Theoretical computer science has a long history of peering through the algorithmic lens at the brain, mind, and learning. In fact, I would argue that the field was born from the epistemological questions of what can our minds learn of mathematical truth through formal proofs. The perspective became more scientific with McCullock & Pitts’ (1943) […]... Read more »
I often see examples of mathematicians, physicists, or computer scientists transitioning into other scientific disciplines and going on to great success. However, the converse is rare, and the only two examples I know is Edward Witten’s transition from an undergad in history and linguistics to a ground-breaking career in theoretical physicist, and Geoffrey Hinton‘s transition […]... Read more »
Hinton, G. E., & Nowlan, S. J. (1987) How learning can guide evolution. Complex Systems, 1(3), 495-502. info:/
Learning and evolution are eerily similar, yet different. This tension fuels my interest in understanding how they interact. In the context of social learning, we can think of learning and evolution as different dynamics. For individual learning, however, it is harder to find a difference. On the one hand, this has led learning experts like […]... Read more »
Frank, S.A. (2011) Natural selection II: Developmental variability and evolutionary rate. Journal of evolutionary biology, 24(11), 2310-20. PMID: 21939464
by Piotr Migdał in Evolutionary Games Group
I like hiking a lot, especially with a few good friends of mine. But when the scenery is wild, or when the weather conditions are harsh, it is not uncommon to lose trail, or at least – be in doubt whether we are going the right way. In these situations we discuss with each other, […]... Read more »
Migdał, P., Rączaszek-Leonardi, J., Denkiewicz, M., & Plewczynski, D. (2012) Information-Sharing and Aggregation Models for Interacting Minds. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 56(6), 417-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmp.2013.01.002
I might be preaching to the choir, but I think the web is transformative for science. In particular, I think blogging is a great form or pre-pre-publication (and what I use this blog for), and Q&A sites like MathOverflow and the cstheory StackExchange are an awesome alternative architecture for scientific dialogue and knowledge sharing. This […]... Read more »
A little while ago, I got a new friend and roommate: Sugar. She is very docile, loves walks and belly-rubs, but isn’t a huge fan of other dogs. Her previous owner was an elderly woman that couldn’t take Sugar outside during most of the year — if you haven’t heard, Montreal is pretty difficult to […]... Read more »
Murchison, E., Wedge, D.C., Alexandrov, L.B., Fu, B., Martincorena, I., Ning, Z., Tubio, J.M.C., Werner, E.I., Allen, J., De Nardi, A.B.... (2014) Transmissable dog cancer genome reveals the origin and history of an ancient cell lineage. Science, 437-440. DOI: 10.1126/science.1247167
One of my hobbies in undergrad was to spend time reading and editing Wikipedia. Towards the end of my studies, I started to specialize in going through Wikipedia’s fat-tail, removing articles to non-notable individuals, and trying to counter pseudoscientists, kooks, and cranks. Trying to understand why people subscribe to pseudoscience; how to demarcate real and […]... Read more »
Howard, D. (1994) What Makes a Classical Concept Classical? Toward a Reconstruction of Niels Bohr’s Philosophy of Physics. Niels Bohr and Contemporary Philosophy., 201-229. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-8106-6_9
Today is the last day of the Julian year, and tomorrow is Old New Years, so it is a great time to finish our overview of the three themes of TheEGG articles in 2013. We already looked at established applications of evolutionary game theory, and extending from behavior to society and mind; now, we will […]... Read more »
Artem Kaznatcheev. (2013) Complexity of evolutionary equilibria in static fitness landscapes. arXiv. arXiv: 1308.5094v1
For psychologists, memory and learning are intimately intertwined. In fact, during the years of behaviorism in the early 20th century, the unobservable process of memory was completely replaced in the technical lexicon by learning (Miller, 2003). I want to take this post as an opportunity to remember the year that’s past, and the 83 articles […]... Read more »
The new year is here, at least according to the calendar most of us use, but if you’re an orthodox Christian you were probably celebrating Christmas today. Although (or, because?) I’m Russian, I don’t celebrate Christmas, so I spent the day editing a paper, reflecting on 2013, and compiling a catalog post to summarize the […]... Read more »
Hartshorn, M., Kaznatcheev, A., & Shultz, T.R. (2013) The Evolutionary Dominance of Ethnocentric Cooperation. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 16(3). info:/
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