may the fittest car win the race
- 19 June 2004
- Magazine issue 2452
CAN evolutionary theory help rival Formula 1 teams break Michael Schumacher's seemingly unassailable hold on top-flight motor racing? Computer scientists at University College London think it might.
Peter Bentley and Krzysztof Wloch have used genetic algorithms - software that mimics evolution's drive for fitness - to breed the best tuning configurations for racing cars. Using the technique, they shaved a second off the best time achieved by an expert. They will present their results at a conference on evolutionary systems in Seattle next week.
Genetic algorithms mimic the principles of evolution to breed solutions to a problem. A population of potential solutions is tested for fitness and the best are cross-bred and mutated. The unfit members of the next generation are weeded out, simulating natural selection, leaving the fittest solutions to go on to breed.
Unfortunately Bentley and Wloch didn't have any real cars to hand, so instead they applied ...