Evolution, Robotics and the Somersaulting Spider

Jul 17, 2019



Biological evolution can be really fast. 5000 years ago the Sahara was still green. Now, after the formation of the desert, an ingenious locomotion technique has been invented in an exclave of the Sahara. Like a cyclist, the spider Cebrennus rechenbergi moves over the obstacle-free surface of the isolated Moroccan desert Erg Chebbi. Turboevolotion, as known from the Darwin Finches on the Galapagos Islands, implies the question: How fast can evolution be? A short introduction to the theory of the evolution-strategy gives the answer. Comparing with a simple random search the speed of progress increases enormously with the accuracy of the imitation of the rules of biological evolution. We are bionicists: We have transferred the ingenious leg movements of the cyclist spider to a robot. The result is a machine, perhaps a future Mars rover, that can run and roll in many fashions. Videos from the Moroccan Erg Chebbi desert demonstrate the extraordinary performance of the bionics rover.



The ACM Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (SIGEVO) aims to promote and disseminate in academia, industry, and society the principles, techniques and applications of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation as well as other bio-inspired methods. Evolutionary algorithms address discrete and continuous optimization, modeling and machine learning. They have achieved human competitive results and solved complex, challenging problems in a myriad of real world domains. Evolutionary computation also includes the study of complex artificial evolutionary systems and processes. SIGEVO operates the annual Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) and the biannual workshop on the Foundations of Genetic Algorithms (FOGA). Sigevo provides support for student participation in the activities of the organization, supports other educational efforts and sponsors other specialized conferences and events. Members include academic and industrial researchers, educators and practitioners, software developers, artists, and students.

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