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PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(7):e1003111. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003111. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

The minimal complexity of adapting agents increases with fitness.

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  • 1Computation and Neural Systems, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.


What is the relationship between the complexity and the fitness of evolved organisms, whether natural or artificial? It has been asserted, primarily based on empirical data, that the complexity of plants and animals increases as their fitness within a particular environment increases via evolution by natural selection. We simulate the evolution of the brains of simple organisms living in a planar maze that they have to traverse as rapidly as possible. Their connectome evolves over 10,000s of generations. We evaluate their circuit complexity, using four information-theoretical measures, including one that emphasizes the extent to which any network is an irreducible entity. We find that their minimal complexity increases with their fitness.

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