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ISSN
1064-5462
E-ISSN
1530-9185
2014 Impact factor:
1.39

Artificial Life

Spring 2012, Vol. 18, No. 2, Pages 165-198
(doi: 10.1162/artl_a_00058)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Hormone-Based Controller for Evaluation-Minimal Evolution in Decentrally Controlled Systems
Article PDF (2.5 MB)
Abstract

One of the main challenges in automatic controller synthesis is to develop methods that can successfully be applied for complex tasks. The difficulty is increased even more in the case of settings with multiple interacting agents. We apply the artificial homeostatic hormone system (AHHS) approach, which is inspired by the signaling network of unicellular organisms, to control a system of several independently acting agents decentrally. The approach is designed for evaluation-minimal, artificial evolution in order to be applicable to complex modular robotics scenarios. The performance of AHHS controllers is compared with neuroevolution of augmenting topologies (NEAT) in the coupled inverted pendulums benchmark. AHHS controllers are found to be better for multimodular settings. We analyze the evolved controllers with regard to the usage of sensory inputs and the emerging oscillations, and we give a nonlinear dynamics interpretation. The generalization of evolved controllers to initial conditions far from the original conditions is investigated and found to be good. Similarly, the performance of controllers scales well even with module numbers different from the original domain the controller was evolved for. Two reference implementations of a similar controller approach are reported and shown to have shortcomings. We discuss the related work and conclude by summarizing the main contributions of our work.