Transfer Dynamics in Emergent Evolutionary Curricula

Aaron Dharna, Amy K. Hoover, Julian Togelius, Lisa B. Soros

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    POET-Inspired Neuroevolutionary System for KreativitY (PINSKY) is a system for open-ended learning through neuroevolution in game-based domains. It builds on the Paired Open-Ended Trailblazer (POET) system, which originally explored learning and environment generation for bipedal walkers, and adapts it to games in the General Video Game AI (GVGAI) system. Previous work showed that by coevolving levels and neural network policies, levels could be found for which successful policies could not be created via optimization alone. Studied in the realm of artificial life as a potentially open-ended alternative to gradient-based fitness, minimal criteria (MC)-based selection helps foster diversity in evolutionary populations. The main question addressed by this article is how the open-ended learning actually works, focusing in particular on the role of transfer of policies from one evolutionary branch ('species') to another. We analyze the dynamics of the system through creating phylogenetic trees, analyzing evolutionary trajectories of policies, and temporally breaking down transfers according to species type. Furthermore, we analyze the impact of the minimal criterion on generated level diversity and interspecies transfer. The most insightful finding is that interspecies transfer, while rare, is crucial to the system's success.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)157-170
    Number of pages14
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Games
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


    • Curriculum learning
    • neural networks
    • transfer learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Control and Systems Engineering


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