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Progress is not optimization : co-evolutionary robotics in simulation

By S.W. van den Braak


In this thesis, various aspects of the co-evolutionary projects of Nolfi and Floreano will be\ud investigated. First of all, we will test the extent to which their "Evorobot" software allows\ud one to replicate Nolfi and Floreano's experimental results. We will argue that numerous\ud limitations and difficulties make it impossible for us to obtain complete resemblance. Sec-\ud ondly, we will investigate whether progress throughout generations occurs. Moreover, we\ud will test the progress for its monotonicity, using the isotonic regression analysis, and we\ud will see that in all experiments the progress is significantly nondecreasing. Further, we will\ud argue that evolving the individuals within more complex environments will lead to a larger\ud amount of progress, while the use of environmental change or plasticity results in a smaller\ud amount of progress. Finally, we will investigate the extent to which the co-evolutionary\ud robotics of Nolfi and Floreano, as based on their software, is comparable to natural evolution. We will propose 3 criteria (i.e. the concepts, techniques used, and results), in order to\ud examine the naturalness of their co-evolutionary robotics. We will claim that on the basis\ud of these criteria there is no principled reason to deny the biological plausibility of Nolfi and\ud Floreano's approach, although in practice, their co-evolutionary robotics is still far removed\ud from it. Biological plausibility thus remains a fundamental important challenge for future\ud research on co-evolutionary robotics

Topics: Wiskunde en Informatica
Year: 2005
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