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[D] Genetic algorithms: Pros and cons of asexual reproduction vs merging two parents?

Quick dumbed-down basics:

  1. Create a bunch of random systems (brains, networks, whatever)
  2. Run each system through your simulation and rate its fitness
  3. Take the fittest systems, then breed and mutate them
  4. Repeat steps #2 and #3 until satisfactory results

Obviously this is an oversimplification, but my only concern right now is step #3. There are two common methods to create a new batch of systems:

  1. Asexual Reproduction

    Simple enough. Take one “parent” system, copy it, and then randomly mutate it.

  2. Two-Parent Reproduction

    Take two parent systems, merge them together according to predefined rules, and then throw in a couple random mutations.

What I’m curious about is, what are the pros and cons of either method? How is the first method not just a simplified version of the second method? Theoretically, you could get identical offspring from both methods, so why go through the more complicated routine of the second?

submitted by /u/rockitman12
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Toronto AI is a social and collaborative hub to unite AI innovators of Toronto and surrounding areas. We explore AI technologies in digital art and music, healthcare, marketing, fintech, vr, robotics and more. Toronto AI was founded by Dave MacDonald and Patrick O'Mara.