Genetic Algorithms

At you can run a flash program which generates and optimises car designs to run over a virtual landscape.

Box Car Genetic Algorithm

Bill Gross presented at TED where he discussed the use of genetic algorithms to systems of mirrors and sterling engines to most cheaply generate power.

Sunflower solar engine

Sunflower solar engine genetic design

Richard Kemp has written An introduction to genetic algorithms for neural networks, pointing to other useful resources. He used this technique to generate optimised steel compositions for use in Fusion power plant . (Phase transformations|Thesis or Cambridge|Dspace

David MacKay previously made a presentation “Why have Sex” based on his investigation of the rate of information aquisition by a species subjected to natural selection. The work demonstrates the advantage of cross-over in increasing the rate of information aquisiaiton.


2007 TED lectures and Flu

This video from 2007 of a lecture by Barry Schartz, in which he says we may be disappointed due to having too many choices. This leads to higher expectations, which are harder to satisfy. It’s all reasonable except he says that this is something that advertisers don’t know. This is something they really do understand better than anyone.

A very energetic talk also from 2007 talk my Prof. Hans Rosling who presenting statistics about development in different countries, and has made tools available at

The gap minder website lets you make your own graphs, and the data is also available in the documentation section.

Prof. Rosling gave a warning about the swine flu on 6th May suggesting that it is overhyped in terms of deaths/news report. For this he compared the number of deaths from the flu and tubercolosis in the same peroid against the number of news reports available from searching on google news. The ratio was 8176 vs 0.1.