One big difference between memes and genes is that memes are
processed and possibly improved by the people that hold them -
something that cannot happen to genes. It is this advantage
that the memetic algorithm has over simple genetic or
These algorithms are useful in solving complex problems, such
as the "Travelling Salesman Problem," which involves finding
the shortest path through a large number of nodes, or in
creating artificial life to test evolutionary theories.
Memetic algorithms are one kind of metaheuristic.
UNLP memetic algorithms home page.
(07 July 1997)