Friday, January 15, 2016

Cheaters Make Co-operation Robust!

Which of these is true??

  1. You need rational beings with minds to have teamwork.
  2. Bacteria and yeast, organisms without brain, cannot collaborate for the good of each other.
  3. Cheating individuals destroy co-operation in the society, and crash its existence.
If you thought that all were false, you might be in for a surprise!

We do have limited resources in this world. And for our survival, correct utilization of those resources based is of utmost importance. Many people can co-operate peacefully with each other to manage resource use. 

But what happens when a few people start to cheat, and greedily take more than their fair share without contributing to the general good. One would think this would cause havoc and destroy the delicate balance of co-operation among individuals, finally leading to population crash. 

Unexpectedly, Adam Waite in his work performed at University of Washington found otherwise. He simulated population dynamics between co-operative and cheating individuals sharing limited resources, and excitingly found that the population became more robust to crashes. 

To understand this exciting and interesting finding, lets call him up!

To know more about the work, please read the article:
Defectors Can Create Conditions That Rescue Cooperation
Waite et al., PLOS Computational Biology 11(12): e1004645, December, 2015.

and the blog:
Cheaters allow cooperators to prosper

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