Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Evol Comput. 2011 Summer;19(2):189-223. doi: 10.1162/EVCO_a_00025. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Abandoning objectives: evolution through the search for novelty alone.

Author information

1
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA. jlehman@eecs.ucf.edu

Abstract

In evolutionary computation, the fitness function normally measures progress toward an objective in the search space, effectively acting as an objective function. Through deception, such objective functions may actually prevent the objective from being reached. While methods exist to mitigate deception, they leave the underlying pathology untreated: Objective functions themselves may actively misdirect search toward dead ends. This paper proposes an approach to circumventing deception that also yields a new perspective on open-ended evolution. Instead of either explicitly seeking an objective or modeling natural evolution to capture open-endedness, the idea is to simply search for behavioral novelty. Even in an objective-based problem, such novelty search ignores the objective. Because many points in the search space collapse to a single behavior, the search for novelty is often feasible. Furthermore, because there are only so many simple behaviors, the search for novelty leads to increasing complexity. By decoupling open-ended search from artificial life worlds, the search for novelty is applicable to real world problems. Counterintuitively, in the maze navigation and biped walking tasks in this paper, novelty search significantly outperforms objective-based search, suggesting the strange conclusion that some problems are best solved by methods that ignore the objective. The main lesson is the inherent limitation of the objective-based paradigm and the unexploited opportunity to guide search through other means.

PMID:
20868264
DOI:
10.1162/EVCO_a_00025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center