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Evolution through natural selection has been going on for a very long time. Evolution through artificial selection has been practiced by humans for a large part of our history, in the breeding of plants and livestock. Artificial evolution, where we evolve an artifact through artificial selection, has been around since electronic computers became common: about 30 years. Right from the beginning, people have suggested using artificial evolution to design electronics automatically.l Only recently, though, have suitable re configurable silicon chips become available that make it easy for artificial evolution to work with a real, physical, electronic medium: before them, ex periments had to be done entirely in software simulations. Early research concentrated on the potential applications opened-up by the raw speed ad vantage of dedicated digital hardware over software simulation on a general purpose computer. This book is an attempt to show that there is more to it than that. In fact, a radically new viewpoint is possible, with fascinating consequences. This book was written as a doctoral thesis, submitted in September 1996. As such, it was a rather daring exercise in ruthless brevity. Believing that the contribution I had to make was essentially a simple one, I resisted being drawn into peripheral discussions. In the places where I deliberately drop a subject, this implies neither that it’s not interesting, nor that it’s not relevant: just that it’s not a crucial part of the tale I want to tell here.