Nature Reviews Genetics 7, 729-735 (September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrg1921

Guidelines: From artificial evolution to computational evolution: a research agenda

Wolfgang Banzhaf1, Guillaume Beslon2, Steffen Christensen3, James A. Foster4, François Képès5, Virginie Lefort2, Julian F. Miller6, Miroslav Radman7 & Jeremy J. Ramsden8  About the authors


Computational scientists have developed algorithms inspired by natural evolution for at least 50 years. These algorithms solve optimization and design problems by building solutions that are 'more fit' relative to desired properties. However, the basic assumptions of this approach are outdated. We propose a research programme to develop a new field: computational evolution. This approach will produce algorithms that are based on current understanding of molecular and evolutionary biology and could solve previously unimaginable or intractable computational and biological problems.

Author affiliations

  1. Wolfgang Banzhaf is at the Department of Computer Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 3X5, Canada.
  2. Guillaume Beslon and Virginie Lefort are at the Departement d'Informatique, INSA, 69621 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.
  3. Steffen Christensen is at the School of Computer Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada.
  4. James A. Foster is at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051, USA.
  5. François Képès is part of the Epigenomics Project, Genopole, 523 Terrasses de l'Agora, 91000 Evry, France.
  6. Julian F. Miller is at the Department of Electronics, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK.
  7. Miroslav Radman is at the Université de Paris-Descartes, Faculté de Médecine, INSERM Site Necker, U571, 156 Rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris, France, and the Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences, Mestrovicevo setaliste bb, 2100 Split, Croatia.
  8. Jeremy J. Ramsden is at the School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK.

Correspondence to: Wolfgang Banzhaf1 Email:

Correspondence to: François Képès5 Email:

Correspondence to: James A. Foster4 Email:

Published online 8 August 2006


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