Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experimental Evolution In Robots Probes The Emergence Of Biological Communication

Date:
February 24, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Using an ingenious approach involving virtual robots that possess evolvable genomes, researchers have identified key factors that may play important roles in determining the manner in which communication arises during the evolution of social organisms.

Using an ingenious approach involving virtual robots that possess evolvable genomes, researchers have identified key factors that may play important roles in determining the manner in which communication arises during the evolution of social organisms. The findings, reported by a group including Dario Floreano of Ecole Polytechnique Fιdιrale de Lausanne, in Switzerland, and Laurent Keller of the University of Lausanne, will appear online in the journal Current Biology on February 22nd.

Related Articles


Communication is critical for social organisms to ensure their ecological success, but the evolution of communication is very challenging to study because of the difficulty of performing experimental evolution with social animals, and the lack of fossil evidence for changes in communication skills over time.

In the new work, the researchers studied the changing behavior of 100 "colonies" of ten virtual robots over 500 generations, during which their virtual genomes were subjected to mutation and recombination, mimicking the genetic variation introduced by sexual reproduction. Within this experimental system, the robots could forage in a virtual environment containing food and poison sources that could only be discriminated at close range.

Theoretically, the efficiency of food foraging could be increased if robots transmitted information to one another about food and poison locations--however, under some conditions, such communication could be costly to the individual, who could lose out by advertising the location of a valuable resource. This situation reflects the evolutionary pressures facing social animals in real-world conditions, where communication may be costly or harmful to the individual, but beneficial to the group. Such pressures set up potentially complex evolutionary dynamics that the researchers were able to investigate in their study: For example, they examined how kinship influences the evolution of communication by performing evolution simulations on robot colonies with different levels of relatedness within the group. Similarly, the researchers used the simulations to look at the effect on communication of different "levels of selection"--that is, the scales at which altruism and competition occur within a given group.

Among the findings was the observation that communication evolves rapidly when colonies contain genetically similar (related) individuals, or when evolutionary selection pressure works primarily on the "group" level. The only scenario in which communication did not result in higher foraging efficiency was when colonies were composed of robots of low relatedness, and in which selection was strongest at the level of the individual--in some cases, these conditions gave rise to the use of deceptive communication signals and a concomitant decrease in colony performance. The researchers also found that once a system of communication became established during the evolution experiments, it tended to constrain the development of more efficient communication systems.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers showed that they could implement "evolved" robot genomes in real robots, and that these robots did indeed display the communication and foraging behavior observed in the simulations.

Floreano et al.: "Evolutionary Conditions for the Emergence of Communication in Robots." Publishing in Current Biology 17, March 20, 2007. http://www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Experimental Evolution In Robots Probes The Emergence Of Biological Communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070222155713.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, February 24). Experimental Evolution In Robots Probes The Emergence Of Biological Communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070222155713.htm
Cell Press. "Experimental Evolution In Robots Probes The Emergence Of Biological Communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070222155713.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) — From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins