Quality and Diversity in Evolutionary Modular Robotics

by   Jørgen Nordmoen, et al.

In Evolutionary Robotics a population of solutions is evolved to optimize robots that solve a given task. However, in traditional Evolutionary Algorithms, the population of solutions tends to converge to local optima when the problem is complex or the search space is large, a problem known as premature convergence. Quality Diversity algorithms try to overcome premature convergence by introducing additional measures that reward solutions for being different while not necessarily performing better. In this paper we compare a single objective Evolutionary Algorithm with two diversity promoting search algorithms; a Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm and MAP-Elites a Quality Diversity algorithm, for the difficult problem of evolving control and morphology in modular robotics. We compare their ability to produce high performing solutions, in addition to analyze the evolved morphological diversity. The results show that all three search algorithms are capable of evolving high performing individuals. However, the Quality Diversity algorithm is better adept at filling all niches with high-performing solutions. This confirms that Quality Diversity algorithms are well suited for evolving modular robots and can be an important means of generating repertoires of high performing solutions that can be exploited both at design- and runtime.


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