Robot Shaping: Developing Situated Agents Through Learning

TitleRobot Shaping: Developing Situated Agents Through Learning
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsColombetti, M., & Dorigo M.
Other Numbers745
Keywordsadaptive systems, behavior-based robotics, genetic algorithms, learning classifier systems, machine learning

Learning plays a vital role in the development of situated agents. In this paper, we explore the use of reinforcement learning to "shape" a robot to perform a predefined target behavior. We connect both simulated and real robots to Alecsys, a parallel implementation of a learning classifier system with an extended genetic algorithm. After classifying different kinds of Animat-like behaviors, we explore the effects on learning of different types of agent's architecture (monolithic, flat and hierarchical) and of training strategies. In particular, hierarchical architecture requires the agent to learn how to coordinate basic learned responses. We show that the best results are achieved when both the agent's architecture and the training strategy match the structure of the behavior pattern to be learned. We report the results of a number of experiments carried out both in simulated and in real environments, and show that the results of simulations carry smoothly to real robots. While most of our experiments deal with simple reactive behavior, in one of them we demonstrate the use of a simple and general memory mechanism. As a whole, our experimental activity demonstrates that classifier systems with genetic algorithms can be practically employed to develop autonomous agents.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report tr-92-040

Abbreviated Authors

M. Colombetti and M. Dorigo

ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report