Indirectly Encoding Neural Plasticity as a Pattern of Local Rules
Sebastian Risi, Kenneth O. Stanley
Biological brains can adapt and learn from past experience. In neuroevolution, i.e. evolving artificial neural networks (ANNs), one way that agents controlled by ANNs can evolve the ability to adapt is by encoding local learning rules. However, a significant problem with most such approaches is that local learning rules for every connection in the network must be discovered separately. This paper aims to show that learning rules can be effectively indirectly encoded by extending the Hypercube-based NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (HyperNEAT) method. Adaptive HyperNEAT is introduced to allow not only patterns of weights across the connectivity of an ANN to be generated by a function of its geometry, but also patterns of arbitrary learning rules. Several such adaptive models with different levels of generality are explored and compared. The long-term promise of the new approach is to evolve large-scale adaptive ANNs, which is a major goal for neuroevolution.