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Springer, Evolutionary Intelligence, 2023

DOI: 10.1007/s12065-023-00860-0



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Heritability of morphological and behavioural traits in evolving robots

Journal article published in 2023 by Matteo De Carlo, Eliseo Ferrante, Daan Zeeuwe, Jacintha Ellers, A. E. Eiben
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This paper is available in a repository.

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AbstractIn the field of evolutionary robotics, choosing the correct genetic representation is a complicated and delicate matter, especially when robots evolve behaviour and morphology at the same time. One principal problem is the lack of methods or tools to investigate and compare representations. In this paper we introduce and evaluate such a tool based on the biological notion of heritability. Heritability captures the proportion of phenotypic variation caused by genotypic variation and is often used to better understand the transmissibility of traits in real biological systems. As a proof of concept, we compare the heritability of various robot traits in two systems, one using a direct (tree based) representation and one using an indirect (grammar based) representation. We measure changes in heritability during the course of evolution and investigate how direct and indirect representation can be biased towards more exploration or exploitation throughout the course of evolution. The empirical study shows that heritability can be a useful tool to analyze different representations without running complete evolutionary processes using them.