Discovering Evolutionary Stepping Stones through Behavior Domination (2017)
Behavior domination is proposed as a tool for understanding and harnessing the power of evolutionary systems to discover and exploit useful stepping stones. Novelty search has shown promise in overcoming deception by collecting diverse stepping stones, and several algorithms have been proposed that combine novelty with a more traditional fitness measure to refocus search and help novelty search scale to more complex domains. However, combinations of novelty and fitness do not necessarily preserve the stepping stone discovery that novelty search affords. In several existing methods, competition between solutions can lead to an unintended loss of diversity. Behavior domination defines a class of algorithms that avoid this problem, while inheriting theoretical guarantees from multiobjective optimization. Several existing algorithms are shown to be in this class, and a new algorithm is introduced based on fast non-dominated sorting. Experimental results show that this algorithm outperforms existing approaches in domains that contain useful stepping stones, and its advantage is sustained with scale. The conclusion is that behavior domination can help illuminate the complex dynamics of behavior-driven search, and can thus lead to the design of more scalable and robust algorithms.
To Appear In Proceedings of The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2017), Berlin, Germany, July 2017. ACM. nominated for Best Paper Award.

Elliot Meyerson Ph.D. Student ekm [at] cs utexas edu
Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu