288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
2014 Impact factor:

Neural Computation

December 1, 2000, Vol. 12, No. 12, Pages 2743-2775
(doi: 10.1162/089976600300014700)
© 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evolution of Cooperative Problem Solving in an Artificial Economy
Article PDF (715.29 KB)

We address the problem of how to reinforce learning in ultracomplex environments, with huge state-spaces, where one must learn to exploit a compact structure of the problem domain. The approach we propose is to simulate the evolution of an artificial economy of computer programs. The economy is constructed based on two simple principles so as to assign credit to the individual programs for collaborating on problem solutions. We find empirically that starting from programs that are random computer code, we can develop systems that solve hard problems. In particular, our economy learned to solve almost all random Blocks World problems with goal stacks that are 200 blocks high. Competing methods solve such problems only up to goal stacks of at most 8 blocks. Our economy has also learned to unscramble about half a randomly scrambled Rubik's cube and to solve several commercially sold puzzles.