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Some biologists have abandoned the idea that computational efficiency in processing multipart tasks or input sets alone drives the evolution of modularity in biological networks. A recent study confirmed that small modular (neural) networks are relatively computationally-inefficient but large modular networks are slightly more efficient than non-modular ones. The present study determines whether these efficiency advantages with network size can drive the evolution of modularity in networks whose connective architecture can evolve. The answer is no, but the reason why is interesting. All simulations (run in a wide variety of parameter states) involving gradualistic connective evolution end in non-modular local attractors. Thus while a high performance modular attractor exists, such regions cannot be reached by gradualistic evolution. Non-gradualistic evolutionary simulations in which multi-modularity is obtained through duplication of existing architecture appear viable. Fundamentally, this study indicates that computational efficiency alone does not drive the evolution of modularity, even in large biological networks, but it may still be a viable mechanism when networks evolve by non-gradualistic means.
Author(s): Tosh CR
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Scientific Reports
Online publication date: 30/08/2016
Acceptance date: 26/07/2016
Date deposited: 27/07/2016
ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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