Augmenting Artificial Development with Local Fitness

T. Kowaliw and W. Banzhaf
at the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation CEC '09
definitive version
paper preprint (PDF)
conference presentation (PDF)

Supplemental Materials


In biology, the importance of environmental feedback to the process of embryogenesis is well understood. In this paper we explore the introduction of a local fitness to an artificial developmental system, providing an artificial analogue to the natural phenomenon. First, we define a highly simplified model of vasculogenesis, an environment-based toy problem in which we can evaluate our strategies. Since the use of a global fitness function for local feedback is likely too computationally expensive, we introduce the notion of a neighbourhood-based ``local fitness'' function. This local fitness serves as an environmental-feedback guide for the developmental system. The result is a developmental analogue of guided hill-climbing, one which significantly improves the performance of an artificial embryogeny in the evolution of a simplified vascular system. We further evaluate our model in a collection of randomly generated two-dimensional geometries, and show that inclusion of local fitness helps allay some of the problem difficulty in irregular environments. In the process, we also introduce a novel and systematic means of generating bounded, connected two-dimensional geometries.

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