Babel Pidgin: SBSE Can Grow and Graft Entirely New Functionality into a Real World System

  • Mark Harman
  • Yue Jia
  • William B. Langdon
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8636)


Adding new functionality to an existing, large, and perhaps poorly-understood system is a challenge, even for the most competent human programmer. We introduce a ‘grow and graft’ approach to Genetic Improvement (GI) that transplants new functionality into an existing system. We report on the trade offs between varying degrees of human guidance to the GI transplantation process. Using our approach, we successfully grew and transplanted a new ‘Babel Fish’ linguistic translation feature into the Pidgin instant messaging system, creating a genetically improved system we call ‘Babel Pidgin’. This is the first time that SBSE has been used to evolve and transplant entirely novel functionality into an existing system. Our results indicate that our grow and graft approach requires surprisingly little human guidance.


Genetic Programming Genetic Improvement Real World System Genetic Programming System Human Intuition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Harman
    • 1
  • Yue Jia
    • 1
  • William B. Langdon
    • 1
  1. 1.CREST CentreUniversity College LondonUK

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