Evolutionary Learning of a Box-Pushing Controller
Pieter Spronck (Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands), Ida Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper (Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands), Eric Postma (Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands) and Rens Kortmann (Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2003
In our research we use evolutionary algorithms to evolve robot controllers for executing elementary behaviours. This chapter focuses on the behaviour of pushing a box between two walls. The main research question addressed in this chapter is: how can a neural network learn to control the box-pushing task using evolutionary-computation techniques? In answering this question we study the following three characteristics by means of simulation experiments: (1) the fitness function, (2) the neural network topology and (3) the parameters of the evolutionary algorithm. We find that appropriate choices for these characteristics are: (1) a global external fitness function, (2) a recurrent neural network, and (3) a regular evolutionary algorithm augmented with the doping technique in which the initial population is supplied with a solution to a hard task instance. We conclude by stating that our findings on the relatively simple box-pushing behaviour form a good starting point for the evolutionary learning of more complex behaviours.