What can the evolution of self-replicating computer programs tell us about evolution in nature?
Research on self-replicating computer programs (digital organisms) enables students to experience evolution in action and to perform evolutionary experiments that would take years to complete with natural organisms. Digital organisms evolve to perform computational tasks. Completion of these tasks rewards the organisms with resources they can use to replicate faster and gain a competitive edge. Over time, faster-replicating organisms out-compete slower-replicating ones. Hence, the organisms evolve to complete increasingly complex tasks, in a manner that parallels the evolution of natural organisms. This stream is a good option for students who want to learn about computer science and evolutionary biology.
>>> Computer Science
Info for Perspective CE Students
Perspective students should come to my office hours in MBB 3.232A to speak with me! I'm also available via email for scheduled appointments.
- W 3-5pm
- and by appointment
Intro to Avida
Many (but not all) of the students in our stream use the Avida software to gain insights into Evolutionary Biology. In the spring semester, students conduct a series of experiments with Avida on the Texas Advanced Computing Cluster to learn the basics of evolutionary biology and conducting computational science. This is a short (~12 minute) video that gives a high-level introduction to the avida software.