Chou, H. H., Reggia, J. A.
Problem Solving During Artificial Selection of Self-replicating Loops
Physica D. 1998 May 01; 115(3): 293-312.
Past cellular automata models of self-replication have generally done only one thing: replicate themselves. However, it has recently been demonstrated that such self-replicating structures can be programmed to also carry out a task during the replication process. Past models of this sort have been limited in that the "program" involved is copied unchanged from parent to child, so that each generation of replicants is executing exactly the same program on exactly the same data. Here we take a different approach in which each replicant receives a distinct partial solution that is modified during replication. Under artificial selection, replicants with promising solutions proliferate while those with failed solutions are lost. We show that this approach can be applied successfully to solve an NP-compIete problem, the satisfiability problem. Bounds are given on the cellular space size and time needed to solve a given problem, and simulations demonstrate that this approach works effectively. These and other recent results raise the possibility of evolving self-replicating structures that have a simulated metabolism or that carry out useful tasks. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.