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Melanie Mitchell

Titles by This Author

A Computer Model

The psychologist William James observed that "a native talent for perceiving analogies is ... the leading fact in genius of every order." The centrality and the ubiquity of analogy in creative thought have been noted again and again by scientists, artists, and writers, and understanding and modeling analogical thought have emerged as two of the most important challenges for cognitive science.

Analogy-Making as Perception is based on the premise that analogy-making is fundamentally a high-level perceptual process in which the interaction of perception and concepts gives rise to "conceptual slippages" which allow analogies to be made. It describes Copycat - a computer model of analogymaking, developed by the author with Douglas Hofstadter, that models the complex, subconscious interaction between perception and concepts that underlies the creation of analogies.

In Copycat, both concepts and high-level perception are emergent phenomena, arising from large numbers of low-level, parallel, non-deterministic activities. In the spectrum of cognitive modeling approaches, Copycat occupies a unique intermediate position between symbolic systems and connectionist systems a position that is at present the most useful one for understanding the fluidity of concepts and high-level perception.

On one level the work described here is about analogy-making, but on another level it is about cognition in general. It explores such issues as the nature of concepts and perception and the emergence of highly flexible concepts from a lower-level "subcognitive" substrate.

Melanie Mitchell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, is a Fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows. She is also Director of the Adaptive Computation Program at the Santa Fe Institute.

Genetic algorithms have been used in science and engineering as adaptive algorithms for solving practical problems and as computational models of natural evolutionary systems. This brief, accessible introduction describes some of the most interesting research in the field and also enables readers to implement and experiment with genetic algorithms on their own. It focuses in depth on a small set of important and interesting topics—particularly in machine learning, scientific modeling, and artificial life—and reviews a broad span of research, including the work of Mitchell and her colleagues.

The descriptions of applications and modeling projects stretch beyond the strict boundaries of computer science to include dynamical systems theory, game theory, molecular biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and population genetics, underscoring the exciting "general purpose" nature of genetic algorithms as search methods that can be employed across disciplines.

An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms is accessible to students and researchers in any scientific discipline. It includes many thought and computer exercises that build on and reinforce the reader's understanding of the text.

The first chapter introduces genetic algorithms and their terminology and describes two provocative applications in detail. The second and third chapters look at the use of genetic algorithms in machine learning (computer programs, data analysis and prediction, neural networks) and in scientific models (interactions among learning, evolution, and culture; sexual selection; ecosystems; evolutionary activity). Several approaches to the theory of genetic algorithms are discussed in depth in the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter takes up implementation, and the last chapter poses some currently unanswered questions and surveys prospects for the future of evolutionary computation.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual