Parallel Experimentation

My topic is the process of parallel experimentation which I take to be a process of multiple experiments running concurrently with some form of common goal, with benchmarking comparisons made between the experiments, and with the “migration” of discoveries between experiments wherever possible to ratchet up the performance of the group.  Within evolutionary biology, this type of parallel experimentation scheme was developed in Sewall Wright’s “shifting balance theory” of evolution.  It addressed the rather neglected topic of how a population on a low fitness peak might eventually be able to go “downhill” against selective pressures, traverse a valley of low fitness, and then ascend a higher fitness peak.  The thesis is that parallel experimentation is a fundamental scheme to enhance and accelerate variation, innovation, and learning in contexts of genuine uncertainty.

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