Grounding Robotic Control With Genetic Neural Networks (1994)
Diane Law and Risto Miikkulainen
An important but often neglected problem in the field of Artificial Intelligence is that of grounding systems in their environment such that the representations they manipulate have inherent meaning for the system. Since humans rely so heavily on semantics, it seems likely that the grounding is crucial to the development of truly intelligent behavior. This study investigates the use of simulated robotic agents with neural network processors as part of a method to ensure grounding. Both the topology and weights of the neural networks are optimized through genetic algorithms. Although such comprehensive optimization is difficult, the empirical evidence gathered here shows that the method is not only tractable but quite fruitful. In the experiments, the agents evolved a wall-following control strategy and were able to transfer it to novel environments. Their behavior suggests that they were also learning to build cognitive maps.
Technical Report AI94-223, Department of Computer Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1994.

Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu