PolyConf 14: The Value Of Diversity And Other Lessons From Biology / Garret Smith

By Erlang Central | Published: November 28, 2014

Nearly all complex life reproduces by sex, despite the high cost when compared to the alternative of cloning. Sex randomly reassembles working solutions, starting over. If you want to build the perfect football team, you clone Robert Lewandowski – you don’t use his kids!

If sex is so costly to optimized solutions, why is it nearly universal in nature? The answer lies in the importance of diversity — having different options to chose from is so valuable in nature, complex life pays the high price of sex.

Can this lesson be applied to software development? Does it pay to know and use multiple languages? Is there inherent value in building heterogeneous systems using a wide variety of technologies?

In this talk, Garrett Smith will explore various phenomena from biology and consider their application to the process of building software. He’ll look at death, speciation, photosynthesis and other fascinating topics that can teach us valuable lessons for our daily work as programmers.