Looking for a nice demonstration of genetic algorithms? Here’s a simulation that takes randomized connected collections of polygons and wheels and scores them for their ability to traverse a rugged 2D landscape. I tried it last night, and it gave me an assortment of very bad vehicles: for example, a lot of them were just polygonal lumps that fell flat and sat there, while some had an odd wheel here and there, but also pointy bits that acted as brakes, or wheels that pointed upward at the sky and did nothing at all. So I just left it running and went to bed.
This morning, I’ve got strange vehicles running races on my computer screen. Unsurprising, but still kind of cool.