Acquiring Evolvability through Adaptive Representations (2007)
Adaptive representations allow evolution to explore the space of phenotypes by choosing the most suitable set of genotypic parameters. Although such an approach is believed to be efficient on complex problems, few empirical studies have been conducted in such domains. In this paper, three neural network representations, a direct encoding, a complexifying encoding, and an implicit encoding capable of adapting the genotype-phenotype mapping are compared on Nothello, a complex game playing domain from the AAAI General Game Playing Competition. Implicit encoding makes the search more efficient and uses several times fewer parameters. Random mutation leads to highly structured phenotypic variation that is acquired during the course of evolution rather than built into the representation itself. Thus, adaptive representations learn to become evolvable, and furthermore do so in a way that makes search efficient on difficult coevolutionary problems.

Best Paper Award, Generative and Developmental Systems Track.
In Proceeedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, pp. 1045-1052 2007.

Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu
Joseph Reisinger Formerly affiliated Ph.D. Student joeraii [at] cs utexas edu