In this paper, we compare Bayesian Optimization, Differential Evolution, and an Evolution Strategy employed as a gait-learning algorithm in modular robots. The motivational scenario is the joint evolution of morphologies and controllers, where “newborn” robots also undergo a learning process to optimize their inherited controllers (without changing their bodies). This context raises the question: How do gait-learning algorithms compare when applied to various morphologies that are not known in advance (and thus need to be treated as without priors)? To answer this question, we use a test suite of twenty different robot morphologies to evaluate our gait-learners and compare their efficiency, efficacy, and sensitivity to morphological differences. The results indicate that Bayesian Optimization and Differential Evolution deliver the same solution quality (walking speed for the robot) with fewer evaluations than the Evolution Strategy. Furthermore, the Evolution Strategy is more sensitive for morphological differences (its efficacy varies more between different morphologies) and is more subject to luck (repeated runs on the same morphology show greater variance in the outcomes).

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