Purpose: Mutation on a cellular level has been long examined in the scientific community. Basically, mutation on this level is an error which occurs when an organism's genetic code is copied wrong. The purpose of this experiment is to examine whether computers may at sometime mutate it's "genetic information" on files that are being copied over and over.

Hypothesis: The hypothesis of this experiment is that computer mutation exist. Support for this hypothesis are several observations of files becoming "corrupt", floppy disk not working, and a host of other problems exhibited by single files.

Equipment: Used in this experiment include a laptop 386/25 Pc computer, Word 2.0, one word document file,   one file to execute replications (click here to view).

Procedure: The first step is to construct a word file complete with alphabet or any series to provide a place for mutation to occur. Create a directory while in dos called exp. Move the file into this directory. Move the file which will create replications into this directory as well. Make 3 directories in this directory called exp1, exp2, & exp3. Copy the word file into the 3rd directory. Return to the c:\exp directory and run exp.bat Allow replication to run for maximum amount of time. Stop the program (ctrl-break) and view the last replicated file in the word program, compare against an unaltered version and record results.

Results: Replication was continued for 46 minutes, at an estimated 2.5 replications per second, this works out to roughly 6,900 replications. The two files looked identical, and no mutation was observed.

Conclusion: Although no mutation was discovered, this experiment only stands as a glimpse into the possibility into computer mutation. In humans, mutation of a single base pair occurs once in roughly
100,000,000 (108) replications. If mutation occurs in computers it would surely occur even less as slight mutation in favorable (in a evolutionary sense) for living organisms while not desirable for computers. Unfortunately, for searching for such occurrences, the computer used would need to be left on for roughly 1.27 years just to reach 108 replications.

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