Evolutionarily Stable Learning and Foraging Strategies
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This thesis examines a series of problems with the goal of better understanding the fundamental dilemma of whether to invest effort in obtaining information that may lead to better opportunities in the future versus exploiting immediately available opportunities. In particular this work investigates how this dilemma is affected by competition in an evolutionary setting. To achieve this requires both the use of evolutionary game theory, and Markov decision procesess or stochastic dynamic programming. This thesis grows directly out of earlier work on the Social Learning Strategies Tournament. Although I cast the problem in the biological setting of optimal foraging theory, where it fills an obvious gap, this fundamental dilemma should also be of some interest to economists, operations researchers, as well as those working in ecology, evolution and behaviour.