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Published on Oct 16, 2010
Richard Dawkins once expressed a desire to see artificial life simulations that use genetic algorithms but do not require a 'fitness function' - in other words, evolution occurs NOT because of some long-term goal arbitrarily determined by a designer, but because of the ability of artificial organisms to have offspring (some being more able than others). Gene Pool (www.swimbots.com) was designed to be an answer to Dawkins' call.
Gene Pool is a virtual Darwinian Aquarium where you can witness evolution unfolding before your eyes. In Gene Pool, sex is synonymous with survival.
Mate selection criteria can be tweaked to see what happens when "fat" or "immobile" or "long" are considered beautiful - even if these attributes run counter to having the anatomy and motor control for efficient swimming.
Check out Gene Pool at www.swimbots.com. It runs on both the Mac and on Windows.