Evolution for Geeks

September 5, 2006

I’ve decided that I should write something to explain evolution to people. I’m not a biologist any more, but I’d hate to think that 15 years of study was for nothing.

Given that I used to be an evolutionary biologist, and I now write software, I though I should bridge these two camps. Hence, Evolution for Geeks.

Strangely, evolution crystallised for me after reading about genetic algorithms. The ability to simplify the while deal down to a few dimensions makes everything far more clear.

I’ll have a go at explaining evolutionary mechanisms using analogies that geeks will understand, maybe even some example simulations (probably written in C#), and lots of visualisations (hopefully).

I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite a while now. I think it’s time to make a start.

Blog post 1 will introduce the Normal Distribution, since it’s central to many of the visualisations that I’ll want to use later. Normal distributions are hard to draw, so I’ll need to sort out some sort of graphics package.  I’ll start with Inkscape, because it does vectors, and maybe look at Blender for the more complex, 3D stuff.


If you’re interested in writing software, check out my other blog: Coding at The Coal Face


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