Introduction: The Rise of Memetics in Computing

  • Abhishek GuptaEmail author
  • Yew-Soon Ong
Part of the Adaptation, Learning, and Optimization book series (ALO, volume 21)


The word meme was coined in a sociological context by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Drawing an analogy to our understanding of genes as basic units of biological heredity, the concept of memes was introduced for representing basic units of cultural information transfer. In other words, the new science of memetics serves as a means of explaining the propagation of information through and across populations, leading to the proliferation of ideas, catch-phrases, fashions, behavioral patterns, etc., based on principles similar to that of Darwinian evolution. Indeed, genetics combined with the notion of memes provides a way to understand the biological evolution of populations in conjunction with their observed behavioral and cultural traits. Interestingly, the implications of the underlying principles are not merely restricted to the realm of sociology and evolutionary biology, but have also penetrated the field of computer science, particularly enriching the nature-inspired subfield of computational intelligence. However, it is worth noting that while algorithms mimicking facets of genetic evolution have been around for several decades, it is still early days for memetics in this regard.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer Science and EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of Computer Science and EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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