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Pages 260-267
First published 2 September 2013

Evolution of Altruism and Spatial Dispersion: an Artificial Evolutionary Ecology Approach

Jean-Marc Montanier, Nicolas Bredeche


This paper concerns the evolution of altruism in a population of autonomous agents. It explores the relation between altruistic behaviours and spatial dispersion in open-ended evolution whenever energetic constraints must be addressed. A method derived from Embodied Evolution is used to model the spatial interactions between agents from an individual perspective. Firstly, results show that spatial dispersion and levels of altruism are strongly correlated, which confirms theoretical results from biology, but also that this relation may be overshadowed by the complex interactions at work in the ecosystem. Secondly, this paper investigates how robust altruistic behaviours able to cope with various environmental pressures may be evolved. In particular, it is shown that there is a trade-off between efficiency and versatility: the ability to perform well accross a wide range of environmental conditions often comes at the cost of sub-optimal performance in terms of survival, especially when compared to more constrained (and less versatile) evolved strategies.