Evolution of a Functionally Diverse Swarm via a Novel Decentralised Quality-Diversity Algorithm

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Authors Emma Hart, Ben Paechter, Andreas S. W. Steyven
Journal/Conference Name GECCO 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The presence of functional diversity within a group has been demonstrated to lead to greater robustness, higher performance and increased problem-solving ability in a broad range of studies that includes insect groups, human groups and swarm robotics. Evolving group diversity however has proved challenging within Evolutionary Robotics, requiring reproductive isolation and careful attention to population size and selection mechanisms. To tackle this issue, we introduce a novel, decentralised, variant of the MAP-Elites illumination algorithm which is hybridised with a well-known distributed evolutionary algorithm (mEDEA). The algorithm simultaneously evolves multiple diverse behaviours for multiple robots, with respect to a simple token-gathering task. Each robot in the swarm maintains a local archive defined by two pre-specified functional traits which is shared with robots it come into contact with. We investigate four different strategies for sharing, exploiting and combining local archives and compare results to mEDEA. Experimental results show that in contrast to previous claims, it is possible to evolve a functionally diverse swarm without geographical isolation, and that the new method outperforms mEDEA in terms of the diversity, coverage and precision of the evolved swarm.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language C++

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