Normally an SEO is looking to reverse engineer the Google algorithm. In a thread at SEO Chat named Is it time to Reverse Engineer our Methods? a member posts a thread about Google reverse engineering the SEO. Some of the suggestions in the thread, I find to be comical. For example; "You [SEO] target your keyword in the title - they [Google] ignore the title" and "You [SEO] collect inbound links BUT they [Google] put more weight on outbound links!!!!"
SPAM is a problem for any search engine, reverse engineering how most SEOs work, will not make for a better search engine. Think about it, Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and now MSN all come to the search engine optimization conferences telling SEOs to put keywords in the title of the page, to have good descriptive anchor text and to be careful not to get involved with spam.
The search engines need to reverse engineer the SPAM tactics out there, not the SEO.