April 08, 2008

Intractability vs Evolution

On the train to Taipei listened to an interesting talk about algorithms in nature from Princetown's lunch'n'learn series, which tied up various things that have been floating through my head. In brief, there are certain problems, such as folding proteins, that for humans [and their computers] seem to be intractable, but for nature are easy, instantly done.

Rudy Rucker maintains that everything is computation, that when the wind hits trees reality is the result of calculations that takes place.

Craig Venter is not trying to make something entirely new, but rather to find / decode what nature has produced and then to put the parts together in a different way.

The world has been evolving for a long time, and nature is really, really smart. It knows what works, it gets things done.

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