Sunday, August 19, 2007

Solution to Randomness and the Genetic Code

From the BBC:

The research has proved that a Rubik's cube can be returned to its original state in no more than 26 moves.
The supercomputer took 63 hours to crank out the proof which goes one better than the previous best solution.

It took some smart thinking by graduate student Daniel Kunkle and Gene Cooperman from Northeastern University in Boston to come up with the proof because cranking through the 43 billion billion possible Rubik's cube positions would take too long even for a supercomputer....

The study brings scientists one step closer to finding the so-called "God's Number" which is the minimum number of moves needed to solve any disordered Rubik's cube.

It is so named because God would only need the smallest number of moves to solve a cube. Theoretical work suggests that God's Number is in the "low 20s"....[more]

Contrast the above with an American Scientist article from a few years ago:

Freeland and his colleagues compared the biological code with another set of a million random variations. The natural code emerged as the uncontested champion. They wrote of the biological code: “ appears at or very close to a global optimum for error minimization: the best of all possible codes.”....

The idea that the genetic code is evolving under pressure to ameliorate errors—or indeed that it is evolving at all—has not won universal assent. Some cogent objections were set forth as early as 1967 by Carl R. Woese of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among other points, he noted that if a trait is actively evolving, you would expect to see some variation.....[more]

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