Review of "Some Remarks on Evolvability and Genetic Relativism"

This is an ALife7 Evolvability Workshop reviewer report on the above draft paper. The final, revised, paper, is available under the title

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 16:02:43 +0100 From: Chrystopher Nehaniv <c.l.nehaniv@herts.ac.uk> To: Barry McMullin <mcmullin@eeng.dcu.ie> Subject: Re: ALife7/Evolvability Workshop... Dear Barry, I am pleased to accept your submission "Some Remarks on Evolvability and Genetic Relativism" by Barry McMullin" subject to revisions as outlined in the enclosed referee report(s). I suggest you mention von Neumman self-reproducers in the title to help quickly orient the reader. Please note that workshop proceedings papers are limited to FOUR PAGES. Suggestions for how to achieve this are made by referee 2 (see below). Additionally, we would like to include this or a longer version of your paper in a University of Hertfordshire Technical Report arising from the workshop for which a greater length is fine. Please send me the revised version(s) of your paper to arrive in in electronic form by 10 June 2000 to C.L.Nehaniv@herts.ac.uk Best Regards, Chrystopher Nehaniv Program Chair "Evolvability Workshop", Artificial Life 7 http://www.cs.herts.ac.uk/~nehaniv/EVOLVABILITY.html ------------------------- Referee's Review: The paper is relevant and interesting for the evolvability workshop and participants. It relates von Neumann's self-reproducing CA work with issues of evolvability and flexibility of genotype-phenotype relations. The writing needs some clarification and explanation to make this understandable as a stand alone paper. Since you are currently under the 4 page limit, you should have room to expand the paper to make it more readable: Abstract: Please add an abstract summarizing the results and key issues of the paper. p. 1 col 1: Remind the reader of von Neumann's work by quickly explaining the components of his self-reproducing automata, including the notation you introduce in the 2nd paragraph. You discuss "mutation". I and most readers are unaware that von Neumann considered mutations of his self-reproducing automaton. This topic should be introduced. - Are mutations allowed in a CA ? - Could these affect the "genotype-phenotype map" ? column 2: "Working with such a framework, it is necessary to exhibit" ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For what purpose is it necessary? clarify. p. 2 column 1: "we are not restricted to considering the range of complexities of any single set of self-reproducers, but can include the union of the sets": It would be better to insert "with a fixed language" (or something to that effect) after "self-reproducers" since the union of sets of self-reproducers is still a (single) set of self-reproducers. next paragraph: "The only benefit of any sort in this approach..." : Another benefit is that the approach is more biological tenable from the viewpoint of the evolution of genetic systems! next paragraph: "von Neumann's problem, as I have stated it" ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I couldn't find where you have stated it, although you referred to this on p. 1, here, and in the next column. Please do state it! column 2 spelling: automataon -> automaton consistency: turing or Turing (you use both spellings for turing machine and Turing computatble, it seems that it would be better to pick one) p. 3 Codd quote: insert a space before "Codd (1968.."