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PDF (568 KB)
Pages 251-258
First published 2 July 2012

odNEAT: An Algorithm for Distributed Online, Onboard Evolution of Robot Behaviours

Fernando Silva, Paulo Urbano, Sancho Oliveira, Anders Lyhne Christensen


We propose and evaluate a novel approach called Online Distributed NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (odNEAT). odNEAT is a completely distributed evolutionary algorithm for online learning in groups of embodied agents such as robots. While previous approaches to online distributed evolution of neural controllers have been limited to the optimisation of weights, odNEAT evolves both weights and network topology. We demonstrate odNEAT through a series of simulation-based experiments in which a group of e-puck-like robots must perform an aggregation task. Our results show that robots are capable of evolving effective aggregation strategies and that sustainable behaviours evolve quickly. We show that odNEAT approximates the performance of rtNEAT, a similar but centralised method. We also analyse the contribution of each algorithmic component on the performance through a series of ablation studies.