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According to the philosopher of science K. Popper “All life is problem solving”. Genetic algorithms aim to leverage Darwinian selection, a fundamental mechanism of biological evolution, so as to tackle various engineering challenges.
Flibs’NFarol is an Agent Based Model that embodies a genetic algorithm applied to the inherently ill-defined “El Farol Bar” problem. Within this context, a group of agents operates under bounded rationality conditions, giving rise to processes of self-organization involving, in the first place, efficiency in the exploitation of available resources. Over time, the attention of scholars has shifted to equity in resource distribution, as well. Nowadays, the problem is recognized as paradigmatic within studies of complex evolutionary systems.
Flibs’NFarol provides a platform to explore and evaluate factors influencing self-organized efficiency and fairness. The model represents agents as finite automata, known as “flibs,” and offers flexibility in modifying the number of internal flibs states, which directly affects their behaviour patterns and, ultimately, the diversity within populations and the complexity of the system.
Flibs’NLogo implements in NetLogo modelling environment, a genetic algorithm whose purpose is evolving a perfect predictor from a pool of digital creatures constituted by finite automata or flibs (finite living blobs) that are the agents of the model. The project is based on the structure described by Alexander K. Dewdney in “Exploring the field of genetic algorithms in a primordial computer sea full of flibs” from the vintage Scientific American column “Computer Recreations”
As Dewdney summarized: “Flibs […] attempt to predict changes in their environment. In the primordial computer soup, during each generation, the best predictor crosses chromosomes with a randomly selected flib. Increasingly accurate predictors evolve until a perfect one emerges. A flib […] has a finite number of states, and for each signal it receives (a 0 or a 1) it sends a signal and enters a new state. The signal sent by a flib during each cycle of operation is its prediction of the next signal to be received from the environment”