Eörs Szathmáry

Eörs Szathmáry
Parmenides Foundation · Center for the Conceptual Foundations of Science

Ph.D., D.Sc.

About

325
Publications
62,705
Reads
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9,688
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2012 - present
Parmenides Foundation
Position
  • Major transitions in evolution
Description
  • http://www.parmenides-foundation.org/
July 2011 - present
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Position
  • guest professor
October 1992 - July 1993
Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin

Publications

Publications (325)
Article
Full-text available
Bayesian learning theory and evolutionary theory both formalize adaptive competition dynamics in possibly high‐dimensional, varying, and noisy environments. What do they have in common and how do they differ? In this paper, we discuss structural and dynamical analogies and their limits, both at a computational and an algorithmic‐mechanical level. W...
Article
Full-text available
Efficient search in vast combinatorial spaces, such as those of possible action sequences, linguistic structures, or causal explanations, is an essential component of intelligence. Is there any computational domain that is flexible enough to provide solutions to such diverse problems and can be robustly implemented over neural substrates? Based on...
Article
Full-text available
There is increased awareness of the possibility of developmental memories resulting from evolutionary learning. Genetic regulatory and neural networks can be modelled by analogous formalism raising the important question of productive analogies in principles, processes and performance. We investigate the formation and persistence of various develop...
Preprint
Full-text available
Efficient search in enormous combinatorial spaces is an essential component of intelligence. Humans, for instance, are often found searching for optimal action sequences, linguistic structures and causal explanations. Is there any computational domain that provides good-enough and fast-enough solutions to such a diverse set of problems, yet can be...
Article
Full-text available
Chromosomes are likely to have assembled from unlinked genes in early evolution. Genetic linkage reduces the assortment load and intragenomic conflict in reproducing protocell models to the extent that chromosomes can go to fixation even if chromosomes suffer from a replicative disadvantage, relative to unlinked genes, proportional to their length....
Article
The process by which chemistry can give rise to biology remains one of the biggest mysteries in contemporary science. The de novo synthesis and origin of life both require the functional integration of three key characteristics — replication, metabolism and compartmentalization — into a system that is maintained out of equilibrium and is capable of...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is increased awareness of the possibility of developmental memories resulting from evolutionary learning. Genetic regulatory and neural networks can be modelled by analogous formalism raising the important question of productive analogies in principles, processes and performance. We investigate the formation and persistence of various develop...
Article
The Stockholm Paradigm suggests that the capacity for pathogens to be associated with a given host is related to the occurrence of specific traits possessed by the host that represent required resources for the pathogen. The capacity for a pathogen to be associated with more than one host is related to how phylogenetically widespread those same res...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Global Health Emergency of international concern attendant to the emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2, nearly two months after the first reported emergence of human cases in Wuhan, China. In the subsequent two months, global, national and local health personnel and infra...
Article
Full-text available
Absztrakt Két kísérlet eredményeit mutatjuk be a cikkben. A kísérleteket az Elliot Aronson által kifejlesztett mozaikmódszerrel végeztük abból a célból, hogy kimutassuk a kooperációs tanulási módszer előnyeit az osztályteremben zajló tanulás során. A kooperáció evolúciós biológiai és szociálpszichológiai értelmezése alapján azt vártuk, hogy az együ...
Article
Full-text available
Discriminating, extracting and encoding temporal regularities is a critical requirement in the brain, relevant to sensory-motor processing and learning. However, the cellular mechanisms responsible remain enigmatic; for example, whether such abilities require specific, elaborately organized neural networks or arise from more fundamental, inherent p...
Article
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Complexity of life forms on the Earth has increased tremendously, primarily driven by subsequent evolutionary transitions in individuality, a mechanism in which units formerly being capable of independent replication combine to form higher-level evolutionary units. Although this process has been likened to the recursive combination of pre-adapted s...
Preprint
Full-text available
A wide variety of human and non-human behavior is computationally well accounted for by probabilistic generative models, formalized consistently in a Bayesian framework. Recently, it has been suggested that another family of adaptive systems, namely, those governed by Darwinian evolutionary dynamics, are capable of implementing building blocks of B...
Article
Sexual reproduction is widespread in nature despite the different kinds of cost that it entails. We do not know exactly when the first sexual process took place and especially why it was beneficial at first. It is clearer why sex is advantageous for the prokaryotes and eukaryotes but the benefit of sex for protocells with individually replicating r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Complexity of life forms on Earth has increased tremendously, primarily driven by subsequent evolutionary transitions in individuality, a mechanism in which units formerly being capable of independent replication combine to form higher-level evolutionary units. Although this process has been likened to the recursive combination of pre-adapted sub-s...
Article
Experimental evolution allows testing hypotheses derived from theory or from observed patterns in nature. We have designed a droplet-based microfluidic “evolution machine” to test how transient compartmentalization (“trait-groups”) of independent molecular replicators (likely a critical step in the origin of life) could have prevented the spread of...
Data
Supplementary material for: "Playing evolution in the laboratory: from the first major evolutionary transition to global warming"
Article
Full-text available
Background: The evolutionary roots of human moral behavior are a key precondition to understanding human nature. Investigations usually start with a social dilemma and end up with a norm that can provide some insight into the origin of morality. We take the opposite direction by investigating whether the cultural norm that promotes helping parents...
Chapter
There are two foundational issues concerning the understanding of life: the investigation of the nature of living organisms and the elucidation of the principles of evolution.
Article
Full-text available
The origin of mitochondria was a major evolutionary transition leading to eukaryotes, and is a hotly debated issue. It is unknown whether mitochondria were acquired early or late, and whether it was captured via phagocytosis or syntrophic integration. We present dynamical models to directly simulate the emergence of mitochondria in an ecoevolutiona...
Article
Full-text available
In this contribution, we develop a theoretical framework for linking microprocesses (i.e., population dynamics and evolution through natural selection) with macrophenomena (such as interconnectedness and modularity within an ecological system). This is achieved by developing a measure of interconnectedness for population distributions defined on a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The evolutionary roots of human moral behavior are a key precondition to understand human nature. Here we investigate whether a biological version of Fifth Commandment (“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long”), respected in different variants across cultures, can spread through Darwinian competition. We show by a novel demog...
Article
Full-text available
The well-established framework of evolutionary dynamics can be applied to the fascinating open problems how human brains are able to acquire and adapt language and how languages change in a population. Schemas for handling grammatical constructions are the replicating unit. They emerge and multiply with variation in the brains of individuals and un...
Article
Full-text available
For a long time, insight problem solving has been either understood as nothing special or as a particular class of problem solving. The first view implicates the necessity to find efficient heuristics that restrict the search space, the second, the necessity to overcome self-imposed constraints. Recently, promising hybrid cognitive models attempt t...
Article
Full-text available
The origin of mitochondria is a unique and hard evolutionary problem, embedded within the origin of eukaryotes. The puzzle is challenging due to the egalitarian nature of the transition where lower-level units took over energy metabolism. Contending theories widely disagree on ancestral partners, initial conditions and unfolding of events. There ar...
Article
Full-text available
We propose an evolutionary perspective to classify and characterize the diverse systems of adaptive immunity that have been discovered across all major domains of life. We put forward a new function-based classification according to the way information is acquired by the immune systems: Darwinian immunity (currently known from, but not necessarily...
Article
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Background : The fact that surplus connections and neurons are pruned during development is well established. We complement this selectionist picture by a proof-of-principle model of evolutionary search in the brain, that accounts for new variations in theory space. We present a model for Darwinian evolutionary search for candidate solutions in the...
Article
Why do worker bees give up their own reproduction in favor of other offspring of the queen? Does this make sense from a Darwin- ian point of view, which prescribes maximization of reproductive suc- cess? Ever since Darwin, evolutionary bi- ologists have time and again revisited this problem of how social behavior evolved. There must be some benefit...
Article
Despite major advances in evolutionary theories, some aspects of evolution remain neglected: whether evolution: would come to a halt without abiotic change; is unbounded and open-ended; or is progressive and something beyond fitness is maximized. Here, we discuss some models of ecology and evolution and argue that ecological change, resulting in Re...
Article
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In this paper, we show that a neurally implemented a cognitive architecture with evolutionary dynamics can solve the four-tree problem. Our model, called Darwinian Neurodynamics, assumes that the unconscious mechanism of problem solving during insight tasks is a Darwinian process. It is based on the evolution of patterns that represent candidate so...
Article
Full-text available
The appearance of molecular replicators (molecules that can be copied) was probably a critical step in the origin of life. However, parasitic replicators would take over and would have prevented life from taking off unless the replicators were compartmentalized in reproducing protocells. Paradoxically, control of protocell reproduction would seem t...
Article
The commentaries [1–4] on our target article [5] raise important points that warrant some discussion and clarification. Blute [1] is correct that there are many aspects of evolutionary biology that correspond to different forms of learning and that we did not address all of them in our Opinion paper [5]. Where we focussed on the evolution of develo...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The fact that surplus connections and neurons are pruned during development is well established. We complement this selectionist picture by a proof-of-principle model of evolutionary search in the brain, that accounts for new variations in theory space. We present a model for Darwinian evolutionary search for candidate solutions in the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The human brain can generate new ideas, hypotheses and candidate solutions to difficult tasks with surprising ease. We argue that this process has evolutionary dynamics, with multiplication, inheritance and variability all implemented in neural matter. This inspires our model, whose main component is a population of recurrent attractor networks wit...
Article
Mapping insights and frameworks from one scientific domain to another is often useful because it encourages communication between different scientific fields and acts as a conduit for the exchange of mathematical and computational tools. This paper introduces analogies between concepts and mechanisms from molecular biology and language processing....
Article
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The theory of evolution links random variation and selection to incremental adaptation. In a different intellectual domain, learning theory links incremental adaptation (e.g., from positive and/or negative reinforcement) to intelligent behaviour. Specifically, learning theory explains how incremental adaptation can acquire knowledge from past exper...
Article
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Background The structure and organisation of ecological interactions within an ecosystem is modified by the evolution and coevolution of the individual species it contains. Understanding how historical conditions have shaped this architecture is vital for understanding system responses to change at scales from the microbial upwards. However, in the...
Article
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Standard evolutionary dynamics is limited by the constraints of the genetic system. A central message of evolutionary neurodynamics is that evolutionary dynamics in the brain can happen in a neuronal niche in real time, despite the fact that neurons do not reproduce. We show that Hebbian learning and structural synaptic plasticity broaden the capac...
Article
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The notion of fitness landscapes, a map between genotype and fitness, was proposed more than 80 years ago. For most of this time data was only available for a few alleles, and thus we had only a restricted view of the whole fitness landscape. Recently, advances in genetics and molecular biology allow a more detailed view of them. Here we review exp...
Article
Full-text available
According to the restructuring hypothesis, insight problem solving typically progresses through consecutive stages of search, impasse, insight, and search again for someone, who solves the task. The order of these stages was determined through self-reports of problem solvers and has never been verified behaviorally. We asked whether individual anal...