Evolutionary Robotics

A new scientific tool for studying cognition

Inman Harvey
with Ezequiel Di Paolo, Elio Tuci, and Rachel Wood
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS)
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QH, U.K.

This is the abstract of a talk prepared for the International interdisciplinary seminar on new robotics, evolution and embodied cognition (IISREEC).12th to 15th November 2002, Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: Evolutionary Robotics allows the experimenter to try and re-create some cognitive phenomena of interest under controlled conditions, whilst minimising the preconceptions and prejudices that are put into the model. In this way Evolutionary Robotics is potentially a new scientific tool for studying the basics of cognition, perception and learning. A thought experiment can be tested on either real or simulated robots/agents, typically giving artificial evolution a free hand to design a real-time artificial neural network that generates behaviour selected to demonstrate the desired properties.

Some examples from within our research group at Sussex include: the origins of basic visual perception and object recognition; homeostasis and the ability of agents to overcome severe sensory distortion; the origins of communication; the circumstances under which learning becomes important; and the interactions between evolution and development. As these experiments are done in a very abstract setting, the implications can be very general and widespread.

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For more information contact Luis Rocha at rocha@lanl.gov
Last Modified: November 1, 2002