Augmentative topology agents for open-ended learning

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We tackle the problem of open-ended learning by improving a method that simultaneously evolves agents and increasingly challenging environments. Unlike previous open-ended approaches that optimize agents using a fixed neural network topology, we hypothesize that the open-endedness and generalization can be improved by allowing agents’ controllers to become more complex as they encounter more difficult environments. Our method, Augmentative Topology EPOET (ATEP), extends the Enhanced Paired Open-ended Trailblazer (EPOET) algorithm by allowing agents to evolve their own neural network structures over time, adding complexity and capacity as necessary. Empirical results demonstrate that ATEP results in open-ended and general agents capable of solving more environments than a fixed-topology baseline. We also investigate mechanisms for transferring agents between environments and find that a species-based approach further improves the open-endedness and generalization of agents.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence to the Faculty of Science, School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023
Open-ended learning, Neural networks, Topology