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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.

Click here to read more about the Computational Evolution Stream.

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Biology, Computer Science, Math