Matteo De Carlo, Eliseo Ferrante, A.E. Eiben

Comparing indirect encodings by evolutionary attractor analysis in the trait space of modular robots

In Proceedings of the 2020 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion (GECCO '20), 2020

DOI 10.1145/3377929.3390032


In evolutionary robotics, the representation of the robot is of primary importance. Often indirect encodings are used, whereby a complex developmental process grows a body and a brain from a genotype. In this work, we aim at improving the interpretability of robot morphologies and behaviours resulting from indirect encoding. We develop and use a methodology that focuses on the analysis of evolutionary attractors, represented in what we call the trait space: Using trait descriptors defined in the literature, we define morphological and behavioural Cartesian planes where we project the phenotype of the final population. In our experiments we show that, using this analysis method, we are able to better discern the effect of encodings that differ only in minor details.