Active from 1998 - 2000
Any transmission of behavior from one generation to the next via a non-genetic means is a process of culture. Culture provides major advantages for survival in the biological world. In this project, four methods were developed to harness the mechanisms of culture in neuroevolution: culling overlarge litters, mate selection by complementary competence, phenotypic diversity maintenance, and teaching offspring to respond like an elder. The methods are efficient because they operate without requiring additional fitness evaluations, and because each method addresses a different aspect of neuroevolution, they also combine synergetically. The combined system balances diversity and selection pressure, and improves performance both in terms of learning speed and solution quality in sequential decision tasks.