January 4 – 8 , 2016, Dagstuhl Seminar 16011

Evolution and Computing


Nick Barton (IST Austria – Klosterneuburg, AT)
Bernard Chazelle (Princeton University, US)
Per Kristian Lehre (University of Nottingham, GB)
Nisheeth K. Vishnoi (EPFL Lausanne, CH)

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Dagstuhl Report, Volume 6, Issue 1 Dagstuhl Report
Aims & Scope
List of Participants
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available


Biological evolution has produced an extraordinary diversity of organisms, even the simplest of which is highly adapted, with multiple complex structures. Dynamic structures at even higher levels emerge from collective and social behaviour. These phenomena have traditionally been studied in population genetics, ecology and related disciplines.

However, theoretical computer scientists, endowed with a wide variety of tools, have recently made progress in describing and characterising the computational capabilities of evolution, analyzing natural algorithms, obtaining quantitative bounds for evolutionary models and understanding the role of sex in evolution. The field of evolutionary computation has found that many innovative solutions to optimisation and design problems can be achieved by simulating living processes, such as evolution via random variation and selection, or social behaviour in insects. Researchers in evolutionary computation have recently started applying techniques from theoretical computer science to analyze the optimization time of natural algorithms.

To further the connections and consolidate this burgeoning new discipline, this Dagstuhl seminar brought together participants from the population genetics, mathematical biology, theoretical computer science, and evolutionary computation communities. The seminar opened with a round of introductions, followed by five introductory talks presenting the perspectives of the disciplines attending. Benjamin Doerr introduced runtime analysis of evolutionary algorithms, Paul Valiant discussed evolution from the perspective of learning, Joachim Krug and Nick Barton introduced population genetics, and Nisheeth Vishnoi discussed evolutionary processes from the perspective of theoretical computer science. In addition to talks contributed by participants, there were several breakout sessions on topics identified during the seminar.

The organisers would like to thank the Dagstuhl team and all the participants for making the seminar a success.

Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Nick Barton and Per Kristian Lehre and Nisheeth K. Vishnoi


  • Data Structures / Algorithms / Complexity
  • Soft Computing / Evolutionary Algorithms


  • Evolution
  • Natural Algorithms
  • Theory of Computation
  • Evolutionary Computation


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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