Dave Aronson

Camp Counselor

Tight Genes: Intro to Genetic Algorithms

Event Logo

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 - 4:30 PM UTC, for 1 hour.

AT THAT (In-Person Only) Regular, 60 minute presentation

Room: Campsite 5

genetic algorithms
weird
language-agnostic

Yes, that's right, geneTic, not geneRic. Genetic algorithms are a way to "evolve" solutions to a problem, similar to real-world biological evolution. This often reveals great solutions that humans probably would never have thought of, such as the twisty NASA ST5 spacecraft antenna, developed by a genetic algorithm in 2006! This talk will explain the concept and its terms, and then walk you through some examples. First I will show creating some simple genetic algorithms, such as helping a farmer decide what to take to the village market, and "evolving" good Dungeons & Dragons characters to fit different classes. Next, I will show extracting from these a simple generic "evolver". Last, I will show creating some more algorithms for the evolver to run, such as mead recipes to yield a desired level of sweetness and alcohol.

Prerequisites

basics of programming

Take Aways

  • Genetic algorithms are a way to "evolve" solutions to a problem, similar to real-world biological evolution.
  • The code can be very simple, depending on the problem domain.
  • Genetic algorithms are heuristics, not guaranteed to find the best solution, but generally faster to find a good solution.
  • Genetic algorithms can be done in any language, with no framework or library needed.
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