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Evolutionary Computation

Winter 2017, Vol. 25, No. 4, Pages 643-671
(doi: 10.1162/evco_a_00197)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evolutionary Design of Classifiers Made of Droplets Containing a Nonlinear Chemical Medium
Article PDF (1.8 MB)
Unconventional computing devices operating on nonlinear chemical media offer an interesting alternative to standard, semiconductor-based computers. In this work we study in-silico a chemical medium composed of communicating droplets that functions as a database classifier. The droplet network can be “programmed” by an externally provided illumination pattern. The complex relationship between the illumination pattern and the droplet behavior makes manual programming hard. We introduce an evolutionary algorithm that automatically finds the optimal illumination pattern for a given classification problem. Notably, our approach does not require us to prespecify the signals that represent the output classes of the classification problem, which is achieved by using a fitness function that measures the mutual information between chemical oscillation patterns and desired output classes. We illustrate the feasibility of our approach in computer simulations by evolving droplet classifiers for three machine learning datasets. We demonstrate that the same medium composed of 25 droplets located on a square lattice can be successfully used for different classification tasks by applying different illumination patterns as its externally supplied program.