Novelty search creates robots with general skills for exploration

Author(s): 
Velez R
Clune J
Year: 
2014
Abstract: 

Novelty Search, a new type of Evolutionary Algorithm, has shown much promise in the last few years. Instead of selecting for phenotypes that are closer to an objective, Novelty Search assigns rewards based on how different the phenotypes are from those already generated. A common criticism of Novelty Search is that it is effectively random or exhaustive search because it tries solutions in an unordered manner until a correct one is found. Its creators respond that over time Novelty Search accumulates information about the environment in the form of skills relevant to reaching uncharted territory, but to date no evidence for that hypothesis has been presented. In this paper we test that hypothesis by transferring robots evolved under Novelty Search to new environments (here, mazes) to see if the skills they've acquired generalize. Three lines of evidence support the claim that Novelty Search agents do indeed learn general exploration skills. First, robot controllers evolved via Novelty Search in one maze and then transferred to a new maze explore significantly more of the new environment than non-evolved (randomly generated) agents. Second, a Novelty Search process to solve the new mazes works significantly faster when seeded with the transferred controllers versus randomly-generated ones. Third, no significant difference exists when comparing two types of transferred agents: those evolved in the original maze under (1) Novelty Search vs. (2) a traditional, objective-based fitness function. The evidence gathered suggests that, like traditional Evolutionary Algorithms with objective-based fitness functions, Novelty Search is not a random or exhaustive search process, but instead is accumulating information about the environment, resulting in phenotypes possessing skills needed to explore their world.


Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration

Talk summarizing "Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration"

Talk summarizing the paper Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration. Talk given by Roby Velez at the 2014 GECCO Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration

Talk summarizing "Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration"

Talk summarizing the paper Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration. Talk given by Roby Velez at the 2014 GECCO Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Pub. Info: 
Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. 737-744
BibTeX: 

@inproceedings{Velez:2014:NSC:2576768.2598225,
author = {Velez, Roby and Clune, Jeff},
title = {Novelty Search Creates Robots with General Skills for Exploration},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation},
series = {GECCO '14},
year = {2014},
isbn = {978-1-4503-2662-9},
location = {Vancouver, BC, Canada},
pages = {737--744},
numpages = {8},
url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2576768.2598225},
doi = {10.1145/2576768.2598225},
acmid = {2598225},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {evolutionary robotics, novelty search},
}