Programmers Contest: Fit pictures on a page
Brian van den Broek
bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Sat Jul 2 01:25:12 CEST 2005
Robert Kern said unto the world upon 01/07/2005 17:24:
> Brian van den Broek wrote:
>>Well, I found it ironic, but only when you add that the genetic
>>algorithm approach came up in the context of a "best fit" problem.
>>Survival of the fittest indeed :-)
> Optimization codes don't always succeed. What's the irony?
Well, the punning on 'fit' (fittest in the sense of "most suitable, or
best adapted", appropriate to Darwinian theory vs. fit in the sense of
"to be of the right measure or proper shape and size for") amused me.
There is at least shades of irony in that the best fit in the
Darwinian sense appropriate to genetic algorithms needn't be the best
fit in the sense of proper size and shape. So, in suitable
circumstances, the meaning of "best fit" in one sense being the
opposite of what was intended in the other. (As in, my sense that it
was ironic didn't reside solely in the genetic algorithm's possible
failure to find the optimal solution, but how the semantic ambiguity
of fit plugs into that in the context of the original problem.) I'd
call that at least semi-irony.
(Yes, I get that the best fit for both evolutionary theory and the
genetic algorithm isn't the absolutely best adapted, but best adapted
as measured relative to the contrast class of available
alternatives--a local maximum if you like.)
All in all, I wish I'd not hit send in the first place. This is
perilously close to sending me into fits ;-)
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