Neuromodulation is a biologically-inspired technique that can adapt the per-connection learning rates of synaptic plasticity. Neuromodulation has been used to facilitate unsupervised learning by adapting neural network weights. Multiobjective evolution of neural network topology and weights has been used to design neurocontrollers for autonomous robots. This paper presents a novel multiobjective evolutionary neurocontroller with unsupervised learning for robot navigation. Multiobjective evolution of network weights and topologies (NEAT-MODS) is augmented with neuromodulated learning. NEAT-MODS is an NSGA-II based multiobjective neurocontroller that uses two conflicting objectives. The first rewards the robot when it moves in a direct manner with minimal turning; the second objective is to reach as many targets as possible. NEAT-MODS uses speciation, a selection process that aims to ensure Pareto-optimal genotypic diversity and elitism. The effectiveness of the design is demonstrated using a series of experiments with a simulated robot traversing a simple maze containing target goals. It is shown that when neuromodulated learning is combined with multiobjective evolution, better-performing neural controllers are synthesized than by evolution alone. Secondly, it is demonstrated that speciation is unnecessary in neuromodulated neuroevolution, as neuromodulation preserves topological innovation. The proposed neuromodulated approach is found to be statistically superior to NEAT-MODS alone when applied to solve a multiobjective navigation problem.

, , , , ,
Evolutionary Intelligence
Department of Systems and Computer Engineering

Showalter, I. (Ian), & Schwartz, H.M. (2020). Neuromodulated multiobjective evolutionary neurocontrollers without speciation. Evolutionary Intelligence. doi:10.1007/s12065-020-00394-9