Upload any object and evolve it: Injecting complex geometric patterns into CPPNs for further evolution

Clune J
Chen A
Lipson H

Ongoing, rapid advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing technology are making it inexpensive for lay people to manufacture 3D objects. However, the lack of tools to help non-technical users design interesting, complex objects represents a significant barrier preventing the public from benefiting from 3D printers. Previous work has shown that an evolutionary algorithm with a generative encoding based on developmental biology–a compositional pattern-producing network (CPPN)–can automate the design of interesting 3D shapes, but users collectively had to start each act of creation from a random object, making it difficult to evolve preconceived target shapes. In this paper, we describe how to modify that algorithm to allow the further evolution of any uploaded shape. The technical insight is to inject the distance to the surface of the object as an input to the CPPN. We show that this seeded-CPPN technique reproduces the original shape to an arbitrary resolution, yet enables morphing the shape in interesting, complex ways. This technology also raises the possibility of two new, important types of science: (1) It could work equally well for CPPN-encoded neural networks, meaning neural wiring diagrams from nature, such as the mouse or human connectome, could be injected into a neural network and further evolved via the CPPN encoding. (2) The technique could be generalized to recreate any CPPN phenotype, but substituting a
flat CPPN representation for the rich, originally evolved one. Any evolvability extant in the original CPPN genome can be assessed by comparing the two, a project we take first steps toward in this paper. Overall, this paper introduces a method that will enable non-technical users to modify complex, existing 3D shapes and opens new types of scientific inquiry that can catalyze research on bio-inspired artificial intelligence and the evolvability benefits of generative encodings

Pub. Info: 
Proceedings of the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation. 3395-3402

author={Clune, J. and Chen, A and Lipson, H.},
booktitle={Evolutionary Computation (CEC), 2013 IEEE Congress on},
title={Upload any object and evolve it: Injecting complex geometric patterns into CPPNS for further evolution},
keywords={artificial intelligence;computational geometry;evolutionary computation;neural nets;solid modelling;three-dimensional printing;3D object;3D printing technology;3D shape;CPPN encoding;CPPN-encoded neural network;bio-inspired artificial intelligence;complex geometric pattern;compositional pattern-producing network;developmental biology;evolutionary algorithm;generative encoding;neural wiring diagram;seeded-CPPN technique;three-dimensional printing technology;Abstracts;Bioinformatics;Encoding;Evolution (biology);Genomics;Neural networks;Shape},