Publications / SAND Report

Graduated embodiment for sophisticated agent evolution and optimization

Boslough, Mark B.; Peters, Michael D.; Pierson, Arthurine R.

We summarize the results of a project to develop evolutionary computing methods for the design of behaviors of embodied agents in the form of autonomous vehicles. We conceived and implemented a strategy called graduated embodiment. This method allows high-level behavior algorithms to be developed using genetic programming methods in a low-fidelity, disembodied modeling environment for migration to high-fidelity, complex embodied applications. This project applies our methods to the problem domain of robot navigation using adaptive waypoints, which allow navigation behaviors to be ported among autonomous mobile robots with different degrees of embodiment, using incremental adaptation and staged optimization. Our approach to biomimetic behavior engineering is a hybrid of human design and artificial evolution, with the application of evolutionary computing in stages to preserve building blocks and limit search space. The methods and tools developed for this project are directly applicable to other agent-based modeling needs, including climate-related conflict analysis, multiplayer training methods, and market-based hypothesis evaluation.