Parallel Experimentation: A Basic Scheme for Dynamic Efficiency

29 Pages Posted: 25 May 2004

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

My topic is the process of parallel experimentation which I take to be a process of multiple experiments running concurrently with some form of common goal, with some semi-isolation between the experiments, with benchmarking comparisons made between the experiments, and with the migration of discoveries between experiments wherever possible to ratchet up the performance of the group. The thesis is that parallel experimentation is a fundamental dynamic efficiency scheme to enhance and accelerate variation, innovation, and learning in contexts of genuine uncertainty or known ignorance. Within evolutionary biology, this type of parallel experimentation scheme was developed in Sewall Wright's shifting balance theory of evolution. It addressed the rather neglected topic of how a population on a low fitness peak might eventually be able to go downhill against selective pressures, traverse a valley of low fitness, and then ascend a higher fitness peak. The theme of parallel experimentation is used to recast and pull together dynamic and pluralistic theories in economics, political theory, philosophy of science, and social learning.

Keywords: Evolution, dynamic efficiency, parallel experimentation

JEL Classification: B52, L10

Suggested Citation

Ellerman, David, Parallel Experimentation: A Basic Scheme for Dynamic Efficiency (March 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=549963 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.549963

David Ellerman (Contact Author)

Phil. Dept. UC at Riverside ( email )

4044 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Riverside, CA 92507
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ellerman.org

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