…. he’d have had it watch apples fall and let it figure out what that meant. But the computer would have needed to run an algorithm developed by Cornell researchers that can derive natural laws from observed data.
The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that represent natural laws — without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer. They have tested their method, or algorithm, on simple mechanical systems and believe it could be applied to more complex systems ranging from biology to cosmology and be useful in analyzing the mountains of data generated by modern experiments that use electronic data collection.
The research is described in the April 3 issue of the journal Science (Vol. 323, No. 5924) by Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and graduate student Michael Schmidt, a specialist in computational biology.