Comp. Sci. / Eng. Evolution Intelligent Design

Evolving Hardware

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Here’s an article on evolving hardware developed by Norwegian scientists. Favorite quote: “Every creature in nature is a product of evolution, and did I mention that creationism is just bull? What the team has done is add evolution to hardware (Norwegian), all hardware that you and I have used so far is made the creationism way, it’s made and can not be changed at runtime through evolution. All changes to existing hardware have to be made through software.” There’s not much detail in this article, but let me venture a guess: when the details come out, we’ll find that intelligent design (which includes evolutionary optimization) outshines unintelligent evolution at every turn.

First Hardware to go through Evolution Developed
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 Written by Philipe Rubio

Kyrre Glette and professor Jim TørresenFor decades people have tried to replicate the human mind, using more and more sophisticated software make better A.I’s, but still the best A.I’s are not much smarter than your average cockroach.

Maybe that’s the problem? Everything that we’ve done so far is software based, the hardware to drive the A.I has been much unchanged. But a Norwegian team at the University of Oslo has made what will possibly be the next generation of hardware.

Every creature in nature is a product of evolution, and did I mention that creationism is just bull?

What the team has done is add evolution to hardware (Norwegian), all hardware that you and I have used so far is made the creationism way, it’s made and can not be changed at runtime through evolution. All changes to existing hardware have to be made through software.

What their hardware does is par up “genes” in the hardware to find the hardware design that is the most effective to accomplish the tasks at hand. Just like in the real world it can take 20 to 30 thousand generations before the system finds the perfect design to solve the problem, but this will happen in just a few seconds compared to the 8-900.000 years it took humans to go through the same number of generations.

The team first started to use evolution back in 2004 when they made the chicken robot “Henriette”, yes a chicken. The chicken robot used evolution, this time software based to learn how to walk on its own.

Evolution solves a lot of problems that programmers cant solve, a programmer can’t think of every problem that might occur if say a robot was sent to Mars and fell into a hole, through evolution that robot could learn how to climb out of the hole without the interference of humans.

The team now wants to make a robot designed to help in the installation of oil pipes and other oil related equipment at 2.000 metres depth, these depths make it almost impossible to communicate with a robot, you’ll either have to have 2-3 kilometres of wires or communicate through echo signals which in turn will give a multi second delay.

An evolution-based robot could find the solution to any problem at hand within seconds without human intervention.


18 Replies to “Evolving Hardware

  1. 1
    DaveScot says:

    All changes to existing hardware have to be made through software.

    Hogwash. A class of devices called the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) has been around for almost 25 years. I remember when my Intel Field Service Engineer was hyping Xilinx FPGA’s to me in the mid-1980’s. I presumed Intel had a financial stake in Xilinx. They were way too slow for anything I was doing but they can be reconfigured on the fly, in-circuit, running hot.

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    Ga-ley, I get one of these “evolving tools” and I won’t need any other tools in my toolbox. I’m gettin’ out of the tool designin’ b’nis right now!

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    And if the robots ever evolve so they have consciousness and the human engineers have left the scene by then, I can just see the “atheist” bots clubbing the “pro design theist” bots over the head, insisting that no intelligence was ever involved in their existence or development.

    These Norwegian guys are demonstrating pretty much how I personally view life on this planet. And they probably don’t see it. Kewl.

  4. 4
    mike1962 says:

    Which reminds me, we are essentially very tiny machines at the cellular level, with the appearance of not being machines at the non-cellular level. I think that’s very interesting, don’t you?

  5. 5
    Jehu says:

    What a bunch of bull. If the robots can evolve in only a few seconds then they aren’t searching a very large information space are they? Obviously they have a limited set of pre-designed options to choose from and they choose the best configuration. This is not analogous to “evolution.” It is analogous to the isolation of pre-existing traits, traits which originated from design, which is creationism through and through. The morons are demonstrating a model of creationism and calling creationism bull.

  6. 6 says:

    “through evolution that robot could learn how to climb out of the hole without the interference of humans.”

    What we are seeing is Darwinists trying to use evolution to dig themselves out of the hole of materialism by writing garbage.

    Using a computer program to test various hardware configurations for fittness in a problem solving situation and determine which is the optimal is not evolution, it is simply the application of trial and error at a much faster pace than we can do it without the speeds computers use.

  7. 7
    Designed Jacob says:

    Now make the simplistic robots evolve several million times a second so we can see if the robots begin reproducing sexually with each other and developing a language so they can woo a mate. When they start building toys for their young, tombstones for their dead, thrones for their kings, and altars with which to worhsip us their makers, then we’ll know that RMNS might have made us.

    We’ll colonize the far side of the universe before that happens.

    Also, has anyone noticed that the notion of RMNS as opposed to creationism has the effect of making us greater than God, because it makes the Creator unintelligent chaos, whereas we are intelligent?

  8. 8
    kairos says:

    Also By Scandinavia I’ve found the following paper by Jan Michl who would argue that simply the basis of ID are flawed:

    It seems to me that his arguments are very weak. Did someone write against yet?

  9. 9
    Joseph says:

    I may be missing something but this article appears to support the “designed to evolve” premise.

    To me it is just an extension of “Evolving Inventions” SciAm Feb 2003- in which circuits “evolved”. The key was the goal was pre-programmed but the means were “random”.

    These guys are using the ID = no evolution canard (or Creation = no evolution canard).

    To DaveScot- I think you are missing the point. IMHO they are saying that existing hardware in an existing system stays the same and to make changes the software changes. IOW when Microsoft comes out with a new product you don’t have to throw away your old system, just upgrade it.

  10. 10
    Smidlee says:

    So far it seems to me the evidence show that complexes creatures/things/programs can’t make anything as complex or more complex than itself. So no doubt a very complex computer program (made by even more complex human) could build/design less products yet the program would be more complex than the product /results itself. Same with humans; will we really be able to create our own equal like in sci-fi? From my understanding even God doesn’t have an equal (Can God create his equal?); thus we are less complex than our Creator.

  11. 11
    bFast says:

    I read the link article. The author seems to be suggesting that human designed objects show signs of multiple designers. Her premise seems to be that with human-designed objects, we see a history where improvements are regularly applied to that which came before.

    If I understand Jan correctly, I must conclude that she has never actually designed anything of significance. Either that, or I have multiple personalities. When I look at some of the work I have done, I clearly see a pattern of improvements on what I had designed before. It is rather amazing, actually. I design the ultimate solution to a problem, only to have my eyes opened by that design to an even more ultimate solution. As I am sure that I don’t have multiple personalities, I bet that all of the other people who have produced sigificantly complex designs would wholeheartedly agree with my experience.

    Even though ID does not expressly postulate a single designer, I find no validity in her hypothesis as I understand it as a way of determining a single, or multiple designers.

  12. 12
    Joseph says:

    Over on the ARN discussion board there is a discussion about that computers can generate CSI that refutes ID. This “aiguy” is clueless to the fact that the CSI generated by the computer can be traced back to its designers. Stephen Meyer stated that during the 1999 procedings at the Wethersfield Institute. (see page 92 in “Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe”)

    Perhaps the article in the OP is suggesting something similar.

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:


    I’m not missing the point at all. FPGA’s have reconfigurable hardware. They are basically composed of up to hundreds of thousands of logic gates, hundreds of I/O pins, and you can wire them together any way you want including rewiring them anywhere anytime as often as you need. The point is they’re claiming this is something new and it isn’t new at all.

  14. 14
    bFast says:

    In truth, the headline by the Norwegians is vastly more glamorous than the reality. That’s just the nature of headlines.

    When they sell the universal tool down at WalMart, or at least somewhere, and it can solve problems for me that would require all manner of custom tools, then I’ll retract the statement in the first paragraph of this post.

  15. 15
    mike1962 says:

    PIDs in HVAC have self-tuning modes. Tuning them manually can be time consuming and frustrating. Are self-tuning circuits and/or algorithms an example of RM+NS? If you equate the goal of an algoritm to the environment that a bio-forms finds itself in, perhaps it is in a way. However, In the case of any useful computer algorithm, a lot of ID has to go into the system long before the goal-seeking algorithm can find its target. Then there’s the question of search space? How does this compare to bio-forms? With computers this is generally easy to determine. But what about bio-forms? How many mutations does it take to get to a particular “goal” (of better adaptation)? Nobody knows. It’s not computable and therefore any conclusions based on it is pseudo science.

    The bottom line is, it is easy to wave the hand with a knowing grin and a mocking tone and say enough mutations within enough time can produce anything, and this may be hypothetically true. But when push comes to shove there is no demonstrable computable paths for a blind evolution of life on this planet, and the estimates look very bad for the anti-ID folks.

    The blindwatchmaker devotees may be right, but they have not demonstrated it rigorously. Only a commitment to non-intelligent causation will get you there so far.

    No sale.

  16. 16
    bFast says:

    Mike1962, “The blindwatchmaker devotees may be right, but they have not demonstrated it rigorously.”

    A greater truism has never been spoken on this topic. Not only have they not come ballpark-close to demonstrating that first life is conceivable via natural mechanisms, they have also produced no rigorous naturalistic explanations for many of IDs challenges such as: the cambrian explosion, the bacterial flagellum, etc., etc.

    Beyond that there is other evidence that is just such a lousy fit with the theory as to be singlehandedly falsifying if there were no religous committment. I think of non-coding segments of DNA which are “ultra-conserved”, yet removing them produces no observed detrimental effects on the organism. Such examples don’t fit the theory — they just don’t.

  17. 17
    Joseph says:

    Dave, I know what a FPGA is. I used to program them. However what about a system that does not contain a FPGA?

    And in the end it is software that reprograms the FPGA. Therefore: “All changes to existing hardware have to be made through software.” would be correct.

  18. 18
    DaveScot says:


    An FPGA by any other name is reconfigurable hardware.

    That wasn’t what they were talking about when they said changes have to made through software. They specifically said today all hardware is fixed. In an FPGA the hardware isn’t fixed.

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