Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Darwin is everywhere

At the core of evolution lies the natural selection, which is an algorithm more than anything. There are many units that have different properties, which are distributed randomly in the beginning. All of them get to reproduce themselves, albeit with an efficiency that is related with the suitability of their inherited properties to the environment in which they are reproducing. It's all that simple.

I'd like to share two possible applications of this algorithm in two widely separated, yet very interesting fields.

Quantum Darwinism: It is a mystery, why the infinite number of ways a quantum states that a particle can be in manifests itself as a single classical state. In plain words, why don't we see two versions of ourselves in the mirror - until we look at the mirror, but that's another exciting story -, where as this may be the case for photons or atoms.

One possible solution to this question invokes the natural selection algorithm a la Darwin. They postulate that the quantum states replicate themselves with different replication rates and in the end what we observe as the classical world is the sum of the quantum states which are replicated successfully. It looks like there are experimental evidence for this, at least from a single group of researchers.

Evolutionary explanation to the roots of music, with examples from Bob Dylan's songs. I haven't yet read the article in full. The author proposes a possible explanation of music as a social glue, which provides evolutionary advantage to the individual who produces it. In that case its Mr. Dylan himself.

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