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Evolution of fuzzy animats in a competitive environment

Jure Demšar (2017) Evolution of fuzzy animats in a competitive environment. PhD thesis.

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    Collective behaviour is a fascinating field that studies coordinated motion of large groups of similar entities. Probably the most common hypothesis about the origins of collective animal behaviour suggests that it might function as a defensive mechanism against predation. In this thesis we used various computational techniques to study this hypothesis. We started by expanding an existing fuzzy model for the computer simulation of bird flocking with predators and visual perception. We implemented three target selection tactics that take into account the visual perspective of the predator (attack the nearest visible individual, attack the most visually isolated individual, and attack the centre of the visible group). Our results suggest that for prey individuals social behaviour (governed by the separation, alignment and cohesion drives) as opposed to individualistic (governed exclusively by the separation drive) is the most beneficial (predators take longer to capture their target). Predators, on the other hand, capture social prey individuals quicker when they attack the most visually isolated individual, but capture individualistic prey faster if they focus on the nearest prey individual. In the next stage we developed an evolutionary model for tuning hand-crafted composite predator attack/target selection tactics. For reasons of computational simplicity we here expanded on a known mathematical model of prey collective behaviour. This allowed us to concentrate on predator target selection tactics. We investigated the evolution of the optimal tactic with respect to prey behaving collectively and prey that performed a delayed response. With the latter prey individuals instead of responding immediately at the first sight of the predator delay the response to a later point in time and then try to outsmart the predator by performing rapid twists and turns. This might be an advantageous defensive manoeuvre because prey can remain in a compact group for as long as possible and because prey individuals are usually smaller than predators and as such have a higher turn rate. Our results suggest that a composite tactic termed dispersing tactic, where the predator first dives deep into the group of prey and then targets the most peripheral individual, is the best tactic. Experiments with prey's delayed response suggest that prey individuals can indeed increase their survivability by using this defensive manoeuvre and the dispersing tactics seems to be the only tactic capable of at least partially diminishing the effectiveness of the preys' delayed response. This was a clear indication of potential interplay between target selection tactics and prey behaviour. Armed with this knowledge, we developed an artificial life-like open-ended evolutionary model, where the behaviour of prey and predator individuals is governed by fuzzy logic. In this model we focused on the evolution of prey behaviour when prey individuals face different predation tactics. We demonstrated that in this model prey individuals evolve different types of collective behaviour (swarm, milling, polarized, dynamic). Interestingly, the analysis of the evolved rule bases showed a statistically significant difference between different types of behaviour in the proportion of rules that take into account predator related information. This suggested that the predation pressures the prey are subject to during evolution might have an influence on the behaviour that evolves. Our last step of research was thus a controlled experiment where prey evolve under various predation tactics. Here we let prey evolve under four predation tactics, two of which according to previous research pressure prey to evolve dispersing and two pressure prey to evolve grouping. Our results suggest that antagonism in predation pressures, where prey are exposed to predation pressures for which the best response is both grouping and dispersing simultaneously, might be necessary for prey to evolve polarized movement.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Keywords: artificial life, collective behaviour, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, predator-prey interaction
    Number of Pages: 170
    Language of Content: English
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Name and SurnameIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Iztok Lebar Bajec269Mentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=51012&select=(ID=1537402563)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Computer and Information Science
    Item ID: 3843
    Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2017 14:54
    Last Modified: 04 Apr 2017 14:02
    URI: http://eprints.fri.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3843

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