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Evolution of Altruistic Communication in Robot Societies

English title Evolution of Altruistic Communication in Robot Societies
Applicant Floreano Dario
Number 117914
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Laboratoire de systèmes intelligents EPFL - STI - IMT - LIS
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Information Technology
Start/End 01.01.2008 - 30.09.2012
Approved amount 549'700.00
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All Disciplines (5)

Discipline
Information Technology
Ethology
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences
Ecology
Zoology

Keywords (9)

Communication; Autonomous robots; Evolutionary computation; Altruistic cooperation; Social animals; Evolution; altruistic; artificial neural networks; mobile robots

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
In this project, we intend to study the evolutionary conditions for the emergence of altruistic communication where the act of communicating provides a cost for the individual but a benefit for the society. The conditions conducive to the evolution of communication and the paths by which reliable systems of communication become established remain largely unknown. Highly social species are not amenable to evolutionary experiments because they typically have long generation times and are difficult to breed in the laboratory. Therefore, we propose to use colonies of artificial organisms implemented as small mobile robots with multiple sensory and signaling abilities, and subject them to artificial evolution. In order to ensure thorough statistical analysis, the evolutionary experiments will be carried out using a combination of physics-based simulations running on a cluster of computers and colonies of real robots.
In preliminary experiments, we studied the conditions of genetic relatedness and levels of selection under which simple forms of communication may emerge in robot societies. In this project we intend to focus on two main topics: the conditions for the emergence of honest and deceptive communication and the transition to more complex forms of communication. Concerning the first topic, we would like to continue previous work in establishing a detailed understanding of different forms of honest and deceptive communication. We also intend to investigate contending theories on the emergence of signals in animals, and the effect of individuality and learning in species of heterogeneous individuals. For the second topic, we intend to study the effect of repertoire size on the emerging system of communication, and the transition from sub-symbolic to symbolic communication, specifically on the emergence of communication using displacement. A further aim of the project is to establish the neural architectures necessary for specific communication systems and their effect on communication complexity. This will be achieved by evolving the neural architectures of robot controllers for each experiment, leading to insights both in natural cognitive structures and in the efficient design of artificial neural networks.
To achieve these goals we propose to combine tools and use a combination of methods borrowed from biology to study the evolution of cooperation and communication in animal societies (Keller s contribution) and of methods borrowed from engineering to carry out artificial evolution in robot colonies (Floreano s contribution). This interdisciplinary approach will shed light on the evolution of communication in animals for which there is no fossil record and provide guidelines for design of robots and algorithms that can engage in altruistic communication in partially unknown and dynamic environments.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
3-D relative positioning sensor for indoor flying robots
Roberts James F., Stirling Timothy, Zufferey Jean-Christophe, Floreano Dario (2012), 3-D relative positioning sensor for indoor flying robots, in Autonomous Robots, 33(1-2), 5-20.
Evolution of self-organized division of labor in a response threshold model
Duarte Ana, Pen Ido, Keller Laurent, Weissing Franz J. (2012), Evolution of self-organized division of labor in a response threshold model, in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66, 947-957.
Historical contingency affects signaling strategies and competitive abilities in evolving populations of simulated robots
Wischmann Steffen, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2012), Historical contingency affects signaling strategies and competitive abilities in evolving populations of simulated robots, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(3), 864-868.
Neural networks as mechanisms to regulate division of labor.
Lichocki Paweł, Tarapore Danesh, Keller Laurent, Floreano Dario (2012), Neural networks as mechanisms to regulate division of labor., in The American naturalist, 179(3), 391-400.
Variation in the level of aggression, chemical and genetic distance among three supercolonies of the Argentine ant in Europe.
Blight O, Berville L, Vogel V, Hefetz a, Renucci M, Orgeas J, Provost E, Keller L (2012), Variation in the level of aggression, chemical and genetic distance among three supercolonies of the Argentine ant in Europe., in Molecular ecology, 21(16), 4106-21.
A Quantitative Test of Hamilton's Rule for the Evolution of Altruism
Waibel Markus, Floreano Dario (2011), A Quantitative Test of Hamilton's Rule for the Evolution of Altruism, in PLoS Biology, 9, 1000615-1000615.
Genetic components to caste allocation in a multiple-queen ant species
Libbrecht Romain, Schwander Tanja, Keller Laurent (2011), Genetic components to caste allocation in a multiple-queen ant species, in Evolution, 65, 2907-2915.
Relatedness influences signal reliability in evolving robots.
Mitri Sara, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2011), Relatedness influences signal reliability in evolving robots., in Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 278, 378-383.
Sib mating without inbreeding in the longhorn crazy ant.
Pearcy Morgan, Goodisman Michael a D, Keller Laurent (2011), Sib mating without inbreeding in the longhorn crazy ant., in Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 278(1718), 2677-81.
The Ethical Landscape of Robotics
Lichocki P, Kahn PH, Billard Aude (2011), The Ethical Landscape of Robotics, in Robotics & Automation ..., 18, 39-50.
Venom alkaloid and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are associated with social organization, queen fertility status, and queen genotype in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta.
Eliyahu Dorit, Ross Kenneth G, Haight Kevin L, Keller Laurent, Liebig J��rgen (2011), Venom alkaloid and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are associated with social organization, queen fertility status, and queen genotype in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta., in Journal of chemical ecology, 37(11), 1242-54.
Changes in reproductive roles are associated with changes in gene expression in fire ant queens.
Wurm Yannick, Wang John, Keller Laurent (2010), Changes in reproductive roles are associated with changes in gene expression in fire ant queens., in Molecular ecology, 19(6), 1200-11.
Chromosome size differences may affect meiosis and genome size
Wang J, Chen PJ, Wang GJ, Keller Laurent (2010), Chromosome size differences may affect meiosis and genome size, in Science, 329, 293-293.
Competitive ability not kinship affects growth of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions.
Masclaux Fr��d��ric, Hammond Robert L, Meunier Jo��l, Gouhier-Darimont Caroline, Keller Laurent, Reymond Philippe (2010), Competitive ability not kinship affects growth of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions., in The New phytologist, 185(1), 322-31.
Energy-Efficient Indoor Search by Swarms of Simulated Flying Robots Without Global Information
Stirling Timothy, Wischmann Steffen, Floreano Dario (2010), Energy-Efficient Indoor Search by Swarms of Simulated Flying Robots Without Global Information, in Swarm Intelligence, 4(2), 117-144.
Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection
Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2010), Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection, in PLoS Biology, 8(1), 1000292-1000292.
Evolutionary conditions for the emergence of communication
Mitri Sara, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2010), Evolutionary conditions for the emergence of communication, Springer, Berlin, 123-134.
Genetics: biased transmission of genomes according to parents of origin.
Keller Laurent (2010), Genetics: biased transmission of genomes according to parents of origin., in Current biology : CB, 20(14), 601-2.
Identification of a pheromone regulating caste differentiation in termites.
Matsuura Kenji, Himuro Chihiro, Yokoi Tomoyuki, Yamamoto Yuuka, Vargo Edward L, Keller Laurent (2010), Identification of a pheromone regulating caste differentiation in termites., in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(29), 12963-8.
Nature versus nurture in social insect caste differentiation
Schwander Tanja, Lo Nathan, Beekman Madeleine, Oldroyd Benjamin P, Keller Laurent (2010), Nature versus nurture in social insect caste differentiation, in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25, 275-282.
Parasitoid Wasps: From Natural History to Genomic Studies
Wurm Y, Keller L (2010), Parasitoid Wasps: From Natural History to Genomic Studies, in Current Biology, 20(5), 242-244.
Social evolution: war of the worms.
Newey Philip, Keller Laurent (2010), Social evolution: war of the worms., in Current biology, 20(22), 985-7.
Task-dependent influence of genetic architecture and mating frequency on division of labour in social insect societies
Tarapore Danesh, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2010), Task-dependent influence of genetic architecture and mating frequency on division of labour in social insect societies, in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64, 675-684.
Adaptation and the genetics of social behaviour.
Keller Laurent (2009), Adaptation and the genetics of social behaviour., in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 364(1533), 3209-16.
Do Animat Models Always Need a Biological Target Organism?
Wischmann Steffen (2009), Do Animat Models Always Need a Biological Target Organism?, in Adaptive Behavior, 17(4), 343-345.
Dynamics and genetic structure of Argentine ant supercolonies in their native range.
Vogel Val��rie, Pedersen Jes S, D'Ettorre Patrizia, Lehmann Laurent, Keller Laurent (2009), Dynamics and genetic structure of Argentine ant supercolonies in their native range., in Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 63(6), 1627-39.
Fitness and the level of homozygosity in a social insect
Haag-Liautard C., Vitikainen E., Keller L., Sundstr��m L. (2009), Fitness and the level of homozygosity in a social insect, in Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22(1), 134-142.
Genetic team composition and level of selection in the evolution of cooperation
Waibel Markus, Keller Laurent, Floreano Dario (2009), Genetic team composition and level of selection in the evolution of cooperation, in Evolutionary Computation IEEE Transactions on, 13(3), 648-660.
Methods for artificial evolution of truly cooperative robots
Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2009), Methods for artificial evolution of truly cooperative robots, in Bio-Inspired Systems: Computational and Ambient.
Patterns of split sex ratio in ants have multiple evolutionary causes based on different within-colony conflicts.
K��mmerli Rolf, Keller Laurent (2009), Patterns of split sex ratio in ants have multiple evolutionary causes based on different within-colony conflicts., in Biology letters, 5(5), 713-6.
Polymorphic social organization in an ant.
Gill Richard J, Arce Andres, Keller Laurent, Hammond Robert L (2009), Polymorphic social organization in an ant., in Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 276(1677), 4423-31.
The evolution of information suppression in communicating robots with conflicting interests
Mitri Sara, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent (2009), The evolution of information suppression in communicating robots with conflicting interests, in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106, 15786-15790.
The Lives of Ants
Keller L., Gordon E. (2009), The Lives of Ants, Oxford University Press, USA.
Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence: Theories, Methods, and Technologies
Floreano Dario, Mattiussi Claudio (2008), Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence: Theories, Methods, and Technologies, MIT Press, USA.
Breeding system and reproductive skew in a highly polygynous ant population
Haag-Liautard C., Pedersen J. S., Ovaskainen O., Keller L. (2008), Breeding system and reproductive skew in a highly polygynous ant population, in Insectes Sociaux, 55(4), 347-354.
Evolution of altruistic robots
Floreano Dario, Mitri Sara, Perez-Uribe A, Keller Laurent (2008), Evolution of altruistic robots, in Computational Intelligence: Research Frontiers.
Foreign ant queens are accepted but produce fewer offspring.
Holzer Barbara, Chapuisat Michel, Keller Laurent (2008), Foreign ant queens are accepted but produce fewer offspring., in Oecologia, 157(4), 717-23.
Genetic compatibility affects queen and worker caste determination.
Schwander Tanja, Keller Laurent (2008), Genetic compatibility affects queen and worker caste determination., in Science, 322(5901), 552-552.
Genome-wide expression patterns and the genetic architecture of a fundamental social trait.
Wang John, Ross Kenneth G, Keller Laurent (2008), Genome-wide expression patterns and the genetic architecture of a fundamental social trait., in PLoS genetics, 4(7), 1000127-1000127.
Maternal effect on female caste determination in a social insect.
Schwander Tanja, Humbert Jean-Yves, Brent Colin S, Cahan Sara Helms, Chapuis Lucille, Renai Emanuela, Keller Laurent (2008), Maternal effect on female caste determination in a social insect., in Current biology : CB, 18(4), 265-9.
Population viscosity can promote the evolution of altruistic sterile helpers and eusociality.
Lehmann Laurent, Ravign�� Virginie, Keller Laurent (2008), Population viscosity can promote the evolution of altruistic sterile helpers and eusociality., in Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 275(1645), 1887-95.
Reproductive parameters vary with social and ecological factors in the polygynous ant Formica exsecta
K��mmerli R, Keller Laurent (2008), Reproductive parameters vary with social and ecological factors in the polygynous ant Formica exsecta, in Oikos, 117, 580-590.
Social Behavior: From Cooperation to Language
Mitri S, Hubert J, Waibel M (2008), Social Behavior: From Cooperation to Language, in Biological Theory, 3, 99-102.
Stay or drift? Queen acceptance in the ant Formica paralugubris
Holzer B., Meunier J., Keller L., Chapuisat M. (2008), Stay or drift? Queen acceptance in the ant Formica paralugubris, in Insectes Sociaux, 55(4), 392-396.
Evolving Cooperation: From Biology to Engineering
Hauert S., Mitri S., Keller L., Floreano D., Evolving Cooperation: From Biology to Engineering, MIT Press, USA.
Evolving team compositions by agent swapping
Lichocki Paweł, Wischmann Steffen, Keller Laurent, Floreano Dario, Evolving team compositions by agent swapping, in Evolutionary Computation, IEEE Transactions on.
Using robots to understand social behavior
Mitri Sara, Wischmann Steffen, Floreano Dario, Keller Laurent, Using robots to understand social behavior, in Biological Reviews.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
13th International conference on the simulation and synthesis of living systems (Alife 13) 19.07.2012 East Lansing, MI, USA
ESEB Congress 20.08.2011 Tuebingen, Germany
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2011) 09.05.2011 Shanghai, China
Early Career Scientist Symposium 2010: Experimental Evolution 17.04.2010 Michigan, USA
15th Annual European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology 14.09.2009 Schoorl, Netherlands
ESEB Congress 24.08.2009 Turin, Italy
SeeDS conference 23.10.2008 Lausanne, Switzerland


Self-organised

Title Date Place
IEEE CEC 2010 - Special Session on "Evolutionary Robotics" 18.07.2010 Barcelona, Spain

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Deciphering communication: learning from robots Western Switzerland 09.01.2012
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Robots Podcast: Dario Floreano Western Switzerland 15.06.2012
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Experiment conducted at LIS and UNIL gets wide media attention Western Switzerland 04.05.2011
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Robots podcast: Sara Mitri Western Switzerland 25.09.2010
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Robots podcast: Steffen Wischmann Western Switzerland 18.06.2010
Other activities Exhibition on evolutionary robotics at the Museum of Zoology, Lausanne Western Switzerland 01.10.2009
Media relations: radio, television Interview: Robots et Evolution RSR radio Western Switzerland 18.02.2008

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
100476 Evolution of Cooperation and Division of Labour in artifical Ants 01.04.2003 Project funding (Div. I-III)
141063 The joint evolution of dispersal and altruism 01.10.2012 Interdisciplinary projects

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