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Evolutionary Computation

Winter 2001, Vol. 9, No. 4, Pages 495-524.
(doi: 10.1162/10636560152642887)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evolution of Adaptive Synapses: Robots with Fast Adaptive Behavior in New Environments
Article PDF (1.11 MB)

This paper is concerned with adaptation capabilities of evolved neural controllers. We propose to evolve mechanisms for parameter self-organization instead of evolving the parameters themselves. The method consists of encoding a set of local adaptation rules that synapses follow while the robot freely moves in the environment. In the experiments presented here, the performance of the robot is measured in environments that are different in significant ways from those used during evolution. The results show that evolutionary adaptive controllers solve the task much faster and better than evolutionary standard fixed-weight controllers, that the method scales up well to large architectures, and that evolutionary adaptive controllers can adapt to environmental changes that involve new sensory characteristics (including transfer from simulation to reality and across different robotic platforms) and new spatial relationships.