A novel generative encoding for evolving modular, regular and scalable networks

Suchorzewski M
Clune J

In this paper we introduce the Developmental Symbolic Encoding (DSE), a new generative encoding for evolving networks (e.g. neural or boolean). DSE combines elements of two powerful generative encodings, Cellular Encoding and HyperNEAT, in order to evolve networks that are modular, regular, scale-free, and scalable. Generating networks with these properties is important because they can enhance performance and evolvability. We test DSE’s ability to generate scale-free and modular networks by explicitly rewarding these properties and seeing whether evolution can produce networks that possess them. We compare the networks DSE evolves to those of HyperNEAT. The results show that both encodings can produce scale-free networks, although DSE performs slightly, but significantly, better on this objective. DSE networks are far more modular than HyperNEAT networks. Both encodings produce regular networks. We further demonstrate that individual DSE genomes during development can scale up a network pattern to accommodate different numbers of inputs. We also compare DSE to Hyper-NEAT on a pattern recognition problem. DSE significantly outperforms HyperNEAT, suggesting that its potential lay not just in the properties of the networks it produces, but also because it can compete with leading encodings at solving challenging problems. These preliminary results imply that DSE is an interesting new encoding worthy of additional study. The results also raise questions about which network properties are more likely to be produced by different types of generative encodings.

Pub. Info: 
Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. 1523-1530

author = {Suchorzewski, Marcin and Clune, Jeff},
title = {A Novel Generative Encoding for Evolving Modular, Regular and Scalable Networks},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th Annual Conference on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation},
series = {GECCO '11},
year = {2011},
isbn = {978-1-4503-0557-0},
location = {Dublin, Ireland},
pages = {1523--1530},
numpages = {8},
url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2001576.2001781},
doi = {10.1145/2001576.2001781},
acmid = {2001781},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {generative and developmental representations, indirect encoding, modularity, networks, neuroevolution, regularity, scalability, scale-free},