Journal article

Co-evolving predator and prey robots: Do 'arm races' arise in artificial evolution?

Co-evolution (i.e. the evolution of two or more competing populations with coupled fitness) has several features that may potentially enhance the power of adaptation of artificial evolution. In particular, as discussed by Dawkins and Krebs [3], competing populations may reciprocally drive one another to increasing levels of complexity by producing an evolutionary “arms race”. In this paper we will investigate the role of co-evolution in the context of evolutionary robotics. In particular, we will try to understand in what conditions co-evolution can lead to “arms races”. Moreover, we will show that in some cases artificial co-evolution has a higher adaptive power than simple evolution. Finally, by analyzing the dynamics of co-evolved populations, we will show that in some circumstances well adapted individuals would be better advised to adopt simple but easily modifiable strategies suited for the current competitor strategies rather than incorporate complex and general strategies that may be effective against a wide range of opposing counter-strategies.

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