Saturday, April 16, 2005

A grandeur in this view of life -- Part 2

Anthony draws our attention to an example of nonbiological replication, mutation and competition leading to surprising novelty. Stanford University's John Kosa and colleagues have programmed a powerful computer to use the paradigm of natural selection (what he calls genetic programming) to digitally evolve useful electronic circuits, including many devices for which patents had been previously granted to human inventors (see Scientific American, February 2003). In January 2004, a patent was issued for an invention that is entirely the computer's own.