Statistical mechanics of program systems

Juan P. Neirotti*, Nestor Caticha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We discuss the collective behaviour of a set of operators and variables that constitute a program and the emergence of meaningful computational properties in the language of statistical mechanics. This is done by appropriately modifying available Monte Carlo methods to deal with hierarchical structures. The study suggests, in analogy with simulated annealing, a method to automatically design programs. Reasonable solutions can be found, at low temperatures, when the method is applied to simple toy problems such as finding an algorithm that determines the roots of a function or one that makes a nonlinear regression. Peaks in the specific heat are interpreted as signalling phase transitions which separate regions where different algorithmic strategies are used to solve the problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number006
Pages (from-to)10355-10361
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and General
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2006


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