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Title: Adaptive networks for robotics and the emergence of reward anticipatory circuits
Author: McHale, Gary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 7863
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
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Currently the central challenge facing evolutionary robotics is to determine how best to extend the range and complexity of behaviour supported by evolved neural systems. Implicit in the work described in this thesis is the idea that this might best be achieved through devising neural circuits (tractable to evolutionary exploration) that exhibit complementary functional characteristics. We concentrate on two problem domains; locomotion and sequence learning. For locomotion we compare the use of GasNets and other adaptive networks. For sequence learning we introduce a novel connectionist model inspired by the role of dopamine in the basal ganglia (commonly interpreted as a form of reinforcement learning). This connectionist approach relies upon a new neuron model inspired by notions of energy efficient signalling. Two reward adaptive circuit variants were investigated. These were applied respectively to two learning problems; where action sequences are required to take place in a strict order, and secondly, where action sequences are robust to intermediate arbitrary states. We conclude the thesis by proposing a formal model of functional integration, encompassing locomotion and sequence learning, extending ideas proposed by W. Ross Ashby. A general model of the adaptive replicator is presented, incoporating subsystems that are tuned to continuous variation and discrete or conditional events. Comparisons are made with Ross W. Ashby's model of ultrastability and his ideas on adaptive behaviour. This model is intended to support our assertion that, GasNets (and similar networks) and reward adaptive circuits of the type presented here, are intrinsically complementary. In conclusion we present some ideas on how the co-evolution of GasNet and reward adaptive circuits might lead us to significant improvements in the synthesis of agents capable of exhibiting complex adaptive behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TJ0210.2 Mechanical devices and figures. Automata. Ingenious mechanisms. Robots (General)