Adapting Morphology to Multiple Tasks in Evolved Virtual Creatures

Dan Lessin, Don Fussell, Risto Miikkulainen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The ESP method for evolving virtual creatures (Lessin et al.,
2013) consisted of an encapsulation mechanism to preserve
learned skills, a human-designed syllabus to build higherlevel
skills by combining lower-level skills systematically,
and a pandemonium mechanism to resolve conflicts between
encapsulated skills in a single creature’s brain. Previous work
with ESP showed that it is possible to evolve much more complex
behavior than before, even when fundamental morphology
(i.e., skeletal segments and joints) was evolved only for
the first skill. This paper introduces a more general form of
ESP in which full morphological development can continue
beyond the first skill, allowing creatures to adapt their morphology
to multiple tasks. This extension increases the variety
and quality of evolved creature results significantly, while
maintaining the original ESP system’s ability to incrementally
develop complex behaviors from a sequence of simpler
learning tasks. In the future, this method should make it possible
to build EVCs with complex and believable behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE 14) 2014
PublisherMIT Press
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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