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Evolvability and Robustness in Artificial Evolving Systems: Three Perturbations

Lee Altenberg

2014, Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines 15(3): 275-280.


This special issue focuses on two emergent properties of artificial evolutionary systems: evolvability and robustness. The three papers presented here expand the subject in distinct directions—two dealing with robustness, and one with evolvability.

In their paper, “Software mutational robustness”, Eric Schulte and coauthors set out to quantify the extent of mutational robustness in `naturally evolved' artificial systems, which is to say, software produced for commercial and production use. ...

Our second paper on robustness returns to the original context in which robustness was conceived: homeostasis, the organism as a robust dynamical system. The paper “Self-repair ability of evolved self-assembling systems in cellular automata” by Can Ozturkeri and Colin Johnson investigates self-repair, a form of robustness in which systems are “able to reconfigure themselves following disruptions to bring them back into a defined normal state.” The evolution of the robustness of development is what motivated the early work of Schmalhausen (1949) and Waddington (1942). ...

Our third paper is “On evolvability and robustness in the matrix-{GRT} model” by Uwe Tangen, and deals primarily with evolvability. Tangen's goal is that `holy grail' of artificial life research: to produce a system with open-ended evolution or growing complexity in time. To this end he follows the primary heuristic of computational intelligence: emulate nature.