Abstract

Developmental neural networks, which are constructed according to developmental rules (i.e., genes), have the potential to be differentiated into heteromorphic neural structures capable of performing various kinds of activities. The fact that the biological neural architectures are found to be highly repetitive, layered, and topographically organized has important consequences for neural development methods. The purpose of this article is to propose a neural development method that can construct topographical neural connections, that is, a topographical development method, to facilitate fast and efficient development. This is achieved by arborizing neural connections on a developmental tree that rarely produces dead connections. Modular gene expression and corresponding modular networks have an important role in a gradual evolutionary process. Gene expression for modular networks is also proposed here as a way to reduce the probability of fatal mutants created through gene alteration. The corresponding evolutionary experiment shows that various neural structures—layered, repetitive, modular, and complex ones like those in the biological brain—can be constructed and easily observed. It also demonstrates that due to the efficiency of the proposed method, large neural networks can be easily managed, thereby making it suitable for long duration evolutionary experiments.

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