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Computational Insights and the Theory of Evolution

Professor Christos Papadimitriou ( C. Lester Hogan Professor of EECS at University of California at Berkeley )

I shall discuss recent work (much of it joint with biologists Adi Livnat and Marcus Feldman) on some central problems in Evolution that was inspired and informed by computational ideas. Considerations about the performance of genetic algorithms led to a novel theory on the role of sex in Evolution based on the concept of mixability. And a natural random process on Boolean functions can help us understand better Waddington’s genetic assimilation phenomenon, in which an acquired trait becomes genetic.

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