McKinley, Ofria, Cheng, Pennock, and Tan receive NSF grant

Philip McKinley, Charles Ofria, Betty Cheng, Robert Pennock (Philosophy/CSE) and Xiaobo Tan (ECE) have received a grant from the Computing Research Infrastructure program at the National Science Foundation.

Their project is titled "A Testbed for Evolving Adaptive and Cooperative Behavior Among Autonomous Systems." The grant will support the construction of a testbed for experimental research in digital evolution.

In digital evolution, populations of self-replicating computer programs are subject to random mutations in dynamic environments, leading to evolution by natural selection.

The testbed will enable researchers to evolve complex distributed behaviors in digital organisms. The team will then use the evolved "genomes" to control the behaviors of sensors and microrobots. The testbed will include:

  • a rack-mounted parallel processor

  • a wireless sensor network

  • a swarm of terrestrial mobile robots

  • a large tank containing a school of custom-built robotic fish

Research projects will address the evolution of cooperative behaviors such as collective communication protocols, foraging and swarming, obstacle avoidance, and distributed problem solving.

See and for related research.

(Date Posted: 2008-04-24)