Part of the Universitext book series (UTX)


  • How do we best distribute our finite resources among different tasks?

  • Isn’t sexual reproduction wasteful? Why are there males?

  • What are the criteria for the optimality of a functional relationship?

Biological evolution is about getting an advantage by becoming better than others. That is, optimization problems arise and should be solved. A key problem is the best allocation of finite resources to different tasks. We develop this in a simple setting. As an application, we can explain why sexual reproduction is prevalent inspite of its apparent shortcomings. We also introduce the calculus of variations as the mathematical theory for the optimization of functional relationships.


Sexual Reproduction Parental Care Reward Function Interior Equilibrium Cost Constraint 
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.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the SciencesLeipzigGermany

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