Environment as a spatial constraint on the growth of structural form

T. Kowaliw and P. Grogono and N. Kharma
at ACM GECCO '07
definitive version
paper preprint (PDF)
© ACM, (2007). This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in GECCO 2007.
conference presentation (PDF)

See the Deva project page for an introductory explanation.


We explore the use of the developmental environment as a spatial constraint on a model of Artificial Embryogeny, applied to the growth of structural forms. A Deva model is used to translate genotype to phenotype, allowing a Genetic Algorithm to evolve Plane Trusses. Genomes are expressed in one of several developmental environments, and selected using a fitness function favouring stability, height, and distribution of pressure. Positive results are found in nearly all cases, demonstrating that environment can be used as an effective spatial constraint on development. Further experiments take genomes evolved in some environment and transplant them into different environments, or re-grow them at different phenotypic sizes; It is shown that while some genomes are highly specialized for the particular environment in which they evolved, others may be re-used in a different context without significant re-design, retaining the majority of their original utility. This strengthens the notion that growth via Artificial Embryogeny can be resistant to perturbations in environment, and that good designs may be re-used in a variety of contexts.