Novelty search is a powerful tool for finding diverse sets of objects in complicated spaces. Recent experiments on simplified versions of novelty search introduce the idea that novelty search happens at the level of the archive space, rather than individual points. The sparseness measure and archive update criterion create a process that is driven by a two measures: (1) spread out to cover the space while trying to remain as efficiently packed as possible, and (2) metrics inspired by k nearest neighbor theory.

In this paper, we generalize previous simplifications of novelty search to include traditional population (μ,λ) dynamics for generating new search points, where the population and the archive are updated separately. We provide some theoretical guidance regarding balancing mutation and sparseness criteria and introduce the concept of saturation as a way of talking about fully covered spaces. We show empirically that claims that novelty search is inherently objectiveless are incorrect. We leverage the understanding of novelty search as an optimizer of archive coverage, suggest several ways to improve the search, and demonstrate one simple improvement—generating some new points directly from the archive rather than the parent population.

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