Fernand Gobet (LSE): “Automatic generation of scientific theories using genetic programming”

The aim of this research is to develop a novel way to use computers to ‘evolve’ scientific theories automatically. By using techniques based on genetic programming and simple building blocks (primitive cognitive mechanisms), theories are automatically built, evolved and tested.  I will present a system to represent and discover computational models to capture data in psychology. The system uses a theory representation language to define the space of possible models. This space is then searched using genetic programming, to discover models which best fit the experimental data. Whilst the examples are from psychology, the method could in principle be applied to other sciences where experimental data are available. Implications for philosophy of science will be discussed.

Fernand Gobet is a Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool and a Professorial Research Fellow at LSE’s Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences.