Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Evolving an Artificial Homeostatic System

New paper added to my reading list.

Moioli, R.C. Vargas, P.A. Von Zuben, F.J. and Husbands, P. (2008) “Evolving an Artificial Homeostatic System”. In: Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence vol. 5249 pp. 278–288.

In this paper they evolve a robotic controller which uses neural networks to control behaviours (they used something called NSGasNet which they never explain) and an artificial endocrine system to decide which behaviour should be followed at any one time. An artificial endocrine system is a thing which uses "hormones" to assess its internal conditions (battery level etc) and as these get worse more fake hormone is produced (a number gets bigger) until it gets big enough that some kind of action is required. In this experiment they monitored battery level and as battery level decreased hormone increased and when there was enough hormone then the robot would switch from wandering around to going to get more power.
In all it's a thorough(ish) experiment. The way they used to develop the artificial endocrine system seemed to be sound and their results show the robot is robust to changes in battery discharge rate an evolved artificial endocrine system sounds like a good thing. That said, this paper doesn't provide enough information to replicate the results and their measure of when the robot performs well is worryingly qualitative, we effectively have to take their word that the robots performed well (for whatever value of "well" they used).

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