Blackwell Publishing

The rise of evolutionary biology - How are computers used in evolutionary biology?


Experimenting with simulations

Because it has the advantage of realism, this method of computer simulation is often used by theoreticians to check results which have been derived analytically, or to suggest promising new areas for analytical work.

However, these kinds of simulations are most powerful when they are used to solve problems which cannot be solved analytically. With such problems it is sometimes difficult to be sure that the program is performing correctly, so it is important to run special cases where the results can be predicted. For example, we know that the highest possible strength of selection should cause the population to become extinct: if this didn't happen in a simulation, then something must be wrong with it.

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