Text Size
Facebook Twitter More...

Evolutionary computing lets anyone discover new laws of nature – but does this mean the end of science as we know it?

It was long after midnight when Michael Schmidt noticed a strangely familiar equation pop up on his monitor. His computer was crunching the data from an experiment to measure the chaotic motion of a double pendulum, a type that has one swinging arm hanging from another.

Schmidt recorded this movement using a motion tracking camera which fed numbers into his computer. What he was looking for was an equation describing the motion of the pendulums.

Initially, the task looked hopeless. When a double pendulum moves chaotically, its arms swing in a way that is almost impossible to predict, with seemingly no pattern whatsoever. For a human, finding an equation for this would be almost impossible. And yet the computer found something. To Schmidt, a PhD student studying computer science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, it was a hugely significant moment. "It's probably the most exciting thing that has happened to me in science," he says.

To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Science