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The aim of this article is to motivate and describe the parameter ecology program, which studies how different parameters contribute to the difficulty of classical problems. We call for a new type of race in parameterized analysis, with the purpose of uncovering the boundaries of tractability by finding the smallest possible parameterizations which admit FPT-algorithms or polynomial kernels. An extensive overview of recent advances on this front is presented for the Vertex Cover problem. Movingdoi:10.1016/j.ejc.2012.04.008 fatcat:uzjyjuxec5hvlcep3jsf3mcupu