Thanks for the reply. I see you also a New Englander (I'm from Ipswich).
This has been an interest and fascination for me for quite sometime. I decided to dust off some old skills see what I can do. I haven't coded in about 15 years, hence my choice of old school tools (c++ etc.).
You asked a great question, why.
There is a lot of interesting things going on right now regarding AI, neural nets, machine learning and genetic algorithms. I worked in Kendall Square Cambridge in the mid 80's next to what was called AI Alley. Every thing that was talked about then is happening now.
Neural nets and what I'll call mathematical machine learning has jumped the fence into a commercialization and industrialization phase.
The use of evolution (modeled like biological evolution) and using genetic algorithms as a tool is in a very interesting experimentation phase. Some have applied GA to specific problems (wind turbine optimization) and building simulated neural nets that do eye catching and whiz bang things (play Mario etc). MathLab now includes GA support tools.
I believe the time is right for a more industrial approach. Some of the hallmarks will be:
1. Consistent platform
2. A set of standard interfaces and methodologies
3. The ability to base work on past work (this was a key point to my first experiment). We are specialized fish. We carry in our brains, older versions that still have use. A platform needs to optimize in this dimension
4. Create an environment for multiple and disparate contributions
Happy to talk more about this in this forum, in direct communication or over coffee at the NH border. Feel free to reach my at my email, linkedin or smoke signal.