The Computer Maverick Who Modeled the Evolution of Life

"In 1953, at the dawn of modern computing, Nils Aall Barricelli played God. Clutching a deck of playing cards in one hand and a stack of punched cards in the other, Barricelli hovered over one of the world’s earliest and most influential computers, the IAS machine, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey."

Writing for Nautilus, Robert Hackett tells the story of Nils Barricelli, a Member of John von Neumann's Electronic Computer Project at IAS who challenged the standard Darwinian model of evolution, leveraging computation to demonstrate the importance of recombination and sex to evolutionary change. Also a Member in the School of Mathematics, Barricelli's innovative artificial life algorithms anticipated many current avenues of research.

Read more at Nautilus.