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. isal2020, ALIFE 2020: The 2020 Conference on Artificial Life432-440, (July 13–18, 2020) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_00299
In evolutionary robot systems where morphologies and controllers of real robots are simultaneously evolved, it is clear that there is likely to be requirements to refine the inherited controller of a ‘newborn’ robot in order to better align it to its newly generated morphology. This can be accomplished via a learning mechanism applied to each individual robot: for practical reasons, such a mechanism should be both sample and time-efficient. In this paper, We investigate two ways to improve the sample and time efficiency of the well-known learner CMA-ES on navigation tasks. The first approach combines CMA-ES with Novelty Search, and includes an adaptive restart mechanism with increasing population size. The second bootstraps CMA-ES using Bayesian Optimisation, known for its sample efficiency. Results using two robots built with the ARE project's modules and four environments show that novelty reduces the number of samples needed to converge, as does the custom restart mechanism; the latter also has better sample and time efficiency than the hybridised Bayesian/Evolutionary method.
. isal2020, ALIFE 2020: The 2020 Conference on Artificial Life423-431, (July 13–18, 2020) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_00291
Novelty search was proposed as a means of circumventing deception and providing selective pressure towards novel behaviours to provide a path towards open-ended evolution. Initial implementations relied on neuro-evolution approaches which increased network complexity over time. However, although many studies have reported impressive results, it is still not clear whether the benefits of evolving topologies are outweighed by the overall complexity of the approach. Given that novelty search can also be combined with evolutionary methods that utilise fixed topologies, we undertake a systematic comparison of evolving topologies, using two types of fixed topology networks in conjunction with novelty search on two test-beds. We show that evolving topologies do not systematically help, and discuss the practical consequences of these results and the research perspectives opened up.
. isal2019, ALIFE 2019: The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life95-102, (July 29–August 2, 2019) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_00147
The long term vision of the Autonomous Robot Evolution (ARE) project is to create an ecosystem of both virtual and physical robots with evolving brains and bodies. One of the major challenges for such a vision is the need to construct many unique individuals without prior knowledge of what designs evolution will produce. To this end, an autonomous robot fabrication system for evolutionary robotics, the Robot Fabricator , is introduced in this paper. Evolutionary algorithms can create robot designs without direct human interaction; the Robot Fabricator will extend this to create physical copies of these designs (phenotypes) without direct human interaction. The Robot Fabricator will receive genomes and produce populations of physical individuals that can then be evaluated, allowing this to form part of the evolutionary loop, so robotic evolution is not confined to simulation and the reality gap is minimised. In order to allow the production of robot bodies with the widest variety of shapes and functional parts, individuals will be produced through 3D printing, with prefabricated actuators and sensors autonomously attached in the positions determined by evolution. This paper presents details of the proposed physical system, including a proof-of-concept demonstrator, and discusses the importance of considering the physical manufacture for evolutionary robotics.
. isal2019, ALIFE 2019: The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life171-178, (July 29–August 2, 2019) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_00158
Human social hierarchy has the unique characteristic of existing in two forms. Firstly, as an informal hierarchy where leaders and followers are implicitly defined by their personal characteristics, and secondly, as an institutional hierarchy where leaders and followers are explicitly appointed by group decision. Although both forms can reduce the time spent in organising collective tasks, institutional hierarchy imposes additional costs. It is therefore natural to question why it emerges at all. The key difference lies in the fact that institutions can create hierarchy with only a single leader, which is unlikely to occur in unregulated informal hierarchy. To investigate if this difference can affect group decision-making and explain the evolution of institutional hierarchy, we first build an opinion-formation model that simulates group decision making. We show that in comparison to informal hierarchy, a single-leader hierarchy reduces (i) the time a group spends to reach consensus, (ii) the variation in consensus time, and (iii) the rate of increase in consensus time as group size increases. We then use this model to simulate the cost of organising a collective action which produces resources, and integrate this into an evolutionary model where individuals can choose between informal or institutional hierarchy. Our results demonstrate that groups evolve preferences towards institutional hierarchy, despite the cost of creating an institution, as it provides a greater organisational advantage which is less affected by group size and inequality.
Can justice be fair when it is blind? How social network structures can promote or prevent the evolution of despotism
. alife2018, ALIFE 2018: The 2018 Conference on Artificial Life288-295, (July 23–27, 2018) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_00058
Hierarchy is an efficient way for a group to organize, but often goes along with inequality that benefits leaders. To control despotic behaviour, followers can assess leaders’ decisions by aggregating their own and their neighbours’ experience, and in response challenge despotic leaders. But in hierarchical social networks, this interactional justice can be limited by (i) the high influence of a small clique who are treated better, and (ii) the low connectedness of followers. Here we study how the connectedness of a social network affects the co-evolution of despotism in leaders and tolerance to despotism in followers. We simulate the evolution of a population of agents, where the influence of an agent is its number of social links. Whether a leader remains in power is controlled by the overall satisfaction of group members, as determined by their joint assessment of the leaders behaviour. We demonstrate that centralization of a social network around a highly influential clique greatly increases the level of despotism. This is because the clique is more satisfied, and their higher influence spreads their positive opinion of the leader throughout the network. Finally, our results suggest that increasing the connectedness of followers limits despotism while maintaining hierarchy.
. ecal2017, ECAL 2017, the Fourteenth European Conference on Artificial Life348-355, (September 4–8, 2017) doi: 10.1162/isal_a_058
The sudden transition from egalitarian groups to hierarchical societies that occurred with the origin of agriculture is one of the most striking features of the evolution of human societies. Hierarchy is reflected by the evolution of an asymmetrical distribution of the influence of individuals. Although the benefits to leaders themselves are easily justified, it is still hard to identify the causes for the evolution of exploited followers. However, leaders also play an important role in solving coordination problems, a role which would have been amplified by the increase in group size induced by the advent of agriculture. Can this lead to the emergence of leadership directly from the evolution of traits affecting individual influence in group decisions? This question is yet unanswered mainly because of a lack of a mechanistic model linking individual influence to group productivity. Here we fill this gap by explicitly describing the organization of group by a decision-making process. We have developed an evolutionary model where individuals organize to carry out a collective task that produces surplus resources. These surplus resources then drive a demographic expansion of group size. Our results show that a stable distribution of leaders and followers can emerge from the evolution of traits affecting individual influence in decision making, even in the presence of inequality. In addition, our model highlights the conditions and dynamics underlying the development of hierarchy. In line with theoretical work on the evolutionary origins of leadership, this model contributes to understanding the interactions between individual evolution and social structure.
. alife2014, ALIFE 14: The Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems192-199, (July 30–August 2, 2014) doi: 10.1162/978-0-262-32621-6-ch032
. ecal2013, ECAL 2013: The Twelfth European Conference on Artificial Life891-892, (September 2–6, 2013) doi: 10.1162/978-0-262-31709-2-ch132
An immune network approach for self-adaptive ensembles of autonomic components: a case study in swarm robotics
. ecal2013, ECAL 2013: The Twelfth European Conference on Artificial Life864-871, (September 2–6, 2013) doi: 10.1162/978-0-262-31709-2-ch127
. ecal2013, ECAL 2013: The Twelfth European Conference on Artificial Life856-863, (September 2–6, 2013) doi: 10.1162/978-0-262-31709-2-ch126