Navigation Links
Cornell engineers solve a biological mystery and boost artificial intelligence
Date:1/29/2013

ITHACA, N.Y. By simulating 25,000 generations of evolution within computers, Cornell University engineering and robotics researchers have discovered why biological networks tend to be organized as modules a finding that will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity. (Proceedings of the Royal Society, Jan. 30, 2013.)

The new insight also will help evolve artificial intelligence, so robot brains can acquire the grace and cunning of animals.

From brains to gene regulatory networks, many biological entities are organized into modules dense clusters of interconnected parts within a complex network. For decades biologists have wanted to know why humans, bacteria and other organisms evolved in a modular fashion. Like engineers, nature builds things modularly by building and combining distinct parts, but that does not explain how such modularity evolved in the first place. Renowned biologists Richard Dawkins, Gnter P. Wagner, and the late Stephen Jay Gould identified the question of modularity as central to the debate over "the evolution of complexity."

For years, the prevailing assumption was simply that modules evolved because entities that were modular could respond to change more quickly, and therefore had an adaptive advantage over their non-modular competitors. But that may not be enough to explain the origin of the phenomena.

The team discovered that evolution produces modules not because they produce more adaptable designs, but because modular designs have fewer and shorter network connections, which are costly to build and maintain. As it turned out, it was enough to include a "cost of wiring" to make evolution favor modular architectures.

This theory is detailed in "The Evolutionary Origins of Modularity," published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society by Hod Lipson, Cornell associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Jean-Baptiste Mouret, a robotics and computer science professor at Universit Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris; and by Jeff Clune, a former visiting scientist at Cornell and currently an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Wyoming.

To test the theory, the researchers simulated the evolution of networks with and without a cost for network connections.

"Once you add a cost for network connections, modules immediately appear. Without a cost, modules never form. The effect is quite dramatic," says Clune.

The results may help explain the near-universal presence of modularity in biological networks as diverse as neural networks such as animal brains and vascular networks, gene regulatory networks, protein-protein interaction networks, metabolic networks and even human-constructed networks such as the Internet.

"Being able to evolve modularity will let us create more complex, sophisticated computational brains," says Clune.

Says Lipson: "We've had various attempts to try to crack the modularity question in lots of different ways. This one by far is the simplest and most elegant."


'/>"/>

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Iowa State computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data
2. Maintaining Earths sustainability: Scientists, engineers, educators take coordinated approach
3. Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds
4. WHOI scientists/engineers partner with companies to market revolutionary new instruments
5. Medusa reimagined: Caltech-led team reverse engineers a jellyfish with the ability to swim
6. BYU engineers conceive disc replacement to treat chronic low back pain
7. Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road
8. Engineers use droplet microfluidics to create glucose-sensing microbeads
9. When cells hit the wall: UCLA engineers put the squeeze on cells to diagnose disease
10. Chemical engineers at UMass Amherst find high-yield method of making xylene from biomass
11. Queens is UK leader for female scientists and engineers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , March 15, 2016 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital ... at US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to ... to 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - ... - Renvoi : image disponible via AP Images ( ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés en Allemagne. ... produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. DERMALOG dévoilera ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... Leading ... 2016 on May 31st and June 1st at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston. ... in the life sciences, offering exclusive access to key decision makers who influence ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Dr. Thomas P. McHugh , ... The Woodlands, Texas , now offers SculpSure, ... treated fat cells in just 25-minutes, leaving a slimmer ... percent of Americans report feeling bothered by excess weight ... procedures are a growing industry. This innovative new approach ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... StarNet Communications Corp, ( http://www.starnet.com/ ) a leading publisher ... Remote Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules ... the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. , Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... York , April 29, 2016 ... published by Transparency Market Research "Separation Systems for ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023", ... valued at US$ 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and ... 6.8% from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ ...
Breaking Biology Technology: