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Peter Norvig on Baldwin Effect - Dictionary of Arguments

Norvig I 130
Baldwin effect/computer theory/simulation/Russell/Norvig: James Baldwin (1896)(1) proposed (…) that behavior learned during an organism’s lifetime could accelerate the rate of evolution. Unlike Lamarck’s, Baldwin’s theory is entirely consistent with Darwinian evolution because it relies on selection pressures operating on individuals that have found local optima among the set of possible behaviors allowed by their genetic makeup. Computer simulations confirm that the “Baldwin effect” is real, once “ordinary” evolution has created organisms whose internal performance measure correlates with actual fitness. >Search algorithms, >Evolution/Philosophical theories, >Local minima, >Simulated annealing/Norvig.


1. Baldwin, J. M. (1896). A new factor in evolution. American Naturalist, 30, 441–451. Continued on pages 536–553.


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Norvig I
Peter Norvig
Stuart J. Russell
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach Upper Saddle River, NJ 2010


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