Coevolution of Competitive and Cooperative Agent Behavior
Since 2009
Realistic and complex behaviors for artificial agents can be inspired by real-life predators and prey. The predator-prey domain can be used to study the evolution of both competitive and cooperative behaviors because the agents cooperate within teams and compete across teams. If teams of artificial predators and prey are coevolved, an arms race emerges. That is, if the predator team is more successful in the first few generations, the prey team quickly evolves to out-survive the predators in the following generations, and so on. A neuroevolutionary architecture called Multi-Component ESP promotes this arms race.

More recently, we have been collaborating with biologists (Dr. Kay Holekamp and Marc Wiseman) at Michigan State University who study spotted hyena behavior. Hyenas sometimes cooperate to capture large, difficult-to-catch prey like zebras, but mostly prefer to hunt alone, feeding on smaller prey. Experiments were designed to study some factors that affect the evolution of cooperation in predators during hunting:
  • shared or individual reward upon prey capture
  • communication among predators
  • net return from catching a particular type of prey
Hyenas have many ways of communicating (vocal, visual, tactile) and the next goal is to simulate the evolution of these various kinds of communication in artificial predators.

This research is supported in part through the BEACON Science and Technology Center for Evolution in Action, funded by NSF DBI-0939454.

Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu
Padmini Rajagopalan Postdoctoral Alumni padminir [at] utexas edu
Aditya Rawal Ph.D. Alumni aditya [at] cs utexas edu
Kay E. Holekamp Collaborator holekamp [at] msu edu
Evolution of Complex Coordinated Behavior Padmini Rajagopalan, Kay E. Holekamp and Risto Miikkulainen In 2020 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), July 2020. 2020

Factors that Affect the Evolution of Complex Cooperative Behavior Padmini Rajagopalan, Kay E. Holekamp and Risto Miikkulainen In The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE 2019), 333--340, July 2019. 2019

The Evolution of Coordinated Cooperative Behaviors Padmini Rajagopalan PhD Thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, August 2016. 2016

Evolution of a Communication Code in Cooperative Tasks Aditya Rawal, Padmini Rajagopalan, Risto Miikkulainen and Kay Holekamp In Artificial Life (13th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Syste... 2012

The Role of Reward Structure, Coordination Mechanism and Net Return in the Evolution of Cooperation Padmini Rajagopalan, Aditya Rawal, Risto Miikkulainen, Marc A. Wiseman and Kay E. Holekamp In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG 2011), Seo... 2011

Constructing Competitive and Cooperative Agent Behavior Using Coevolution Aditya Rawal, Padmini Rajagopalan and Risto Miikkulainen In IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG 2010), Copenhagen, Denmark, A... 2010