Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Evolving a cellular automaton with neural controllers

Evolution of Hungarian flag
What happens if you integrate a cellular automaton with neural network controllers? In an experiment, we extended the model of CA with a neural network that controls the cell behavior according to its internal state. The model is used to evolve an Artificial Neural Network controlling the cell behavior in a way a previously defined reference pattern emerges by interaction of the cells. Each cell is controlled by an instance of the same ANN. The ANNs have connections to neighbors and one output of each ANN determines cell color.
At the beginning of each simulation, all cells had the same state and commenced their operation at the same time - this is comparable with a number of people cooperatively drawing an image in the dark.
We used our tool FREVO for evolving the neural network in a way that it reproduces the given pattern. The best results have been achieved when evolving simple structures with large areas of a single color as they are present for example in flags. For more complex images, however, the current setup causes the evolutionary algorithm to get stuck at a suboptimal stage like depicted in the approach to learn the image of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting. There is, however, a large space of possibilities for variations of the model which gives rise to future work.
Complex images like this painting cannot be reproduced - Mona Lisa kinda vanished huh?

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