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Darwin, a Game of Survival of the Fittest among Programs

Douglas McIlroy

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Darwin, a competition between self-reproducing programs, was conceived and played forty years ago at Bell Laboratories. The following pages were transcribed from a 1971 letter on which was based the first public description of Darwin, in the Computer Recreations column of Software - Practice and Experience, Volume 2 (1972) pages 91-96, written by ``Aleph-Null''. A decade further on, A. K. Dewdney's Scientific American column for May, 1984, described an updated version of the game, rechristened as Core Wars.

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