Coevolutionary Learning of Neuromodulated Controllers for Multi-Stage and Gamified Tasks


Chloe M. Barnes, Anikó Ekárt, Kai Olav Ellefsen, Kyrre Glette, Peter R. Lewis and Jim Tørresen

Conference Details

2020 IEEE 1st International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organizing Systems (ACSOS)

Washington DC, USA (Virtual).

13th-18th July 2020.


Neural networks have been widely used in agent learning architectures; however, learning multiple context-dependent tasks simultaneously or sequentially is problematic when using them. Behavioural plasticity enables humans and animals alike to respond to changes in context and environmental stimuli, without degrading learnt knowledge; this can be achieved by regulating behaviour with neuromodulation – a biological process found in the brain. We demonstrate that modulating activity-propagating signals when evolving neural networks enables agents to learn context-dependent and multi-stage tasks more easily. Further, we show that this benefit is preserved when agents occupy an environment shared with other neuromodulated agents. Additionally we show that neuromodulation helps agents that have evolved alone to adapt to changes in environmental stimuli when they continue to evolve in a shared environment.