Cornell Department of Computer Science Colloquium
4:15pm Thursday, October 11, 2001
B17 Upson Hall

Hod Lipson
Cornell University Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering 

Evolutionary Computation and Evolutionary Robotics


The fields of evolutionary computation and evolutionary robotics study adaptive mechanisms based on natural selection, with the aim of algorithmically applying these ideas to solve hard problems like nonlinear optimization and engineering design, as well as shedding light on the evolution of natural systems. One of the difficult questions, both algorithmically and biologically, is the emergence of complexity: Evolutionary processes based on accumulation of random mutations are less likely to result in improvement as individuals grow more complex, because of the exponential nature of the search space.

This talk will present some new directions in evolutionary computation that address this scaling problem. Some recent new approaches based on co-evolution, modularity, hierarchical composition and symbiosis will be overviewed, as well as and their application to evolution of robots (Fig 1). The talk will also outline some of the research methodologies used in this field, and some of the currently open questions.


 Locomoting machine synthesized by an evolutionary process.