Contributed Article

Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 251-284

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Human-competitive results produced by genetic programming

  • John R. KozaAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University Email author 


Genetic programming has now been used to produce at least 76 instances of results that are competitive with human-produced results. These human-competitive results come from a wide variety of fields, including quantum computing circuits, analog electrical circuits, antennas, mechanical systems, controllers, game playing, finite algebras, photonic systems, image recognition, optical lens systems, mathematical algorithms, cellular automata rules, bioinformatics, sorting networks, robotics, assembly code generation, software repair, scheduling, communication protocols, symbolic regression, reverse engineering, and empirical model discovery. This paper observes that, despite considerable variation in the techniques employed by the various researchers and research groups that produced these human-competitive results, many of the results share several common features. Many of the results were achieved by using a developmental process and by using native representations regularly used by engineers in the fields involved. The best individual in the initial generation of the run of genetic programming often contains only a small number of operative parts. Most of the results that duplicated the functionality of previously issued patents were novel solutions, not infringing solutions. In addition, the production of human-competitive results, as well as the increased intricacy of the results, are broadly correlated to increased availability of computing power tracked by Moore’s law. The paper ends by predicting that the increased availability of computing power (through both parallel computing and Moore’s law) should result in the production, in the future, of an increasing flow of human-competitive results, as well as more intricate and impressive results.


Genetic programming Human-competitive results Developmental genetic programming Automated design Parallel computing Patented inventions Moore’s law