Frenken, Koen and Marengo, Luigi and Valente, Marco (1999) Interdependencies, nearly-decomposability and adaptation. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
In this paper we discuss some limitations that selection mechanisms face when the entities subject to selection are complex systems of interdependent elements. We briefly present Kauffman’s NK model which addresses this problem in biological systems. It is argued that, contrary to the myopic search behaviour, underlying biological fitness landscapes, social organisations are not bound in their search dynamics. This amounts to say that the problem of finding optima on a fitness landscape can be decomposed in many different ways. Following work by Page (1996), we present some measures of the complexity of a fitness landscape in terms of the complexity (size) of the algorithm that decomposes the problem most accurately, while still being able to locate the global optima with full certainty. We then extend this measures to allow for nearly-decomposability in a sense close to Simon (1969). Finally we study some evolutionary properties of populations of agents characterised by different decompositions of the same given problem.
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