A Hyper-Heuristic is a heuristic search method that seeks to automate, often by the incorporation of machine learning techniques, the process of selecting, combining, generating or adapting several simpler heuristics (or components of such heuristics) to efficiently solve computational search problems. One of the motivations for studying hyper-heuristics is to build systems which can handle classes of problems rather than solving just one problem.
The Terran Federation discovered that it could create virtual personalities of its best scientists or strategists and load them into the proper virtual reality matrix, thus getting the best of both worlds; an AI's computational speed, since the matrix could be 'accelerated' (time beings compressed within the VR world), and they benefited human-grade intuition.
It was, however, limited to not being able to carry out real-life experiments inside the matrix. Those had to handled outside the VR, which resulted in the virtual personalities being slowed down to interface with the real-world. By the same token, it offered a huge multiplication of the talent pool, which meant the Federation could assemble a dozen teams, or a hundred, or even a thousand, all consisting of the same virtual personalities, and assign them separate problems to solve simultaneously.
- Detailed article about heuristics on Wikipedia