SFI Talk Focuses on Evoution, Information and Two-Dimensional Probability

SFI News:

Michael Lachmann from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology will give a talk titled “Evolution, Information and Two-Dimensional Probability.”

Lachmann’s talk is 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6 in the Noyce Conference Room at the Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road in Santa Fe.

What is a signal worth, how much information does it carry? Two different approaches tackle this question in biology. On the one hand, one can measure the information carried by the signal in bits — the entropy reduction that it provides, on the other, one can ask about the fitness benefit that the signal provides — the increase in the number of offspring expected.

This also leads to a new evaluation of the effects of uncertainty in a population. Probability becomes a two-dimensional entity for the population. Thus, a “measurement error of ten percent” in the dryness of the summer might be divided into seven percent  shared error, and three percent individual error, with very different effects. Since individual errors can cancel at the population level, individuals do not need to evolve perfect weather prediction.

For more information, visit http://santafe.edu/.