Robots evolve to learn cooperation, hunting

robot evolution

If robots are allowed to evolve through natural selection, they will develop adaptive abilities to hunt prey, cooperate, and even help one another, according to Swiss researchers.

In a series of experiments described in the journal PLoS Biology, Dario Floreano of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and Laurent Keller of the University of Lausanne reported that simple, small-wheeled Khepera and Alice robots can evolve behaviors such as collision-free movement and homing techniques in only several hundred “generations.”

The robots were controlled by a neural network that mutated randomly, with input information from the robots’ sensors. In an imitation of natural selection, the robots with the best maneuvering abilities were allowed to foster a new generation. Furthermore, selected robots were “paired” by having their neural net connections mixed and passed to a new generation.

CNET: Robots evolve to learn cooperation, hunting

The PLoS paper cited

(via Chris Arkenberg)

3D Fractal Images

3d fractal

Real 3D Mandelbulbs

(First saw this via Social Physicist, have seen it several places since)

Giant Crystal Cave Comes to Light

crystal cave Cueva de los Cristales

Geologist Juan Manuel García-Ruiz calls it “the Sistine Chapel of crystals,” but Superman could call it home.

A sort of south-of-the-border Fortress of Solitude, Mexico’s Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) contains some of the world’s largest known natural crystals—translucent beams of gypsum as long as 36 feet (11 meters). […]

Modern-day mining operations exposed the natural wonder by pumping water out of the 30-by-90-foot (10-by-30-meter) cave, which was found in 2000 near the town of Delicias (Chihuahua state map). Now García-Ruiz is advising the mining company to preserve the caves.

National Geographic: Giant Crystal Cave Comes to Light

(via, indirectly, Angadc)

Insect Colonies Operate as ‘Superorganisms’, New Research Finds

ant colony

New A team of researchers including scientists from the University of Florida has shown insect colonies follow some of the same biological “rules” as individuals, a finding that suggests insect societies operate like a single “superorganism” in terms of their physiology and life cycle. […]

Now, researchers from UF, the University of Oklahoma and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have taken the same mathematical models that predict lifespan, growth and reproduction in individual organisms and used them to predict these features in whole colonies.

By analyzing data from 168 different social insect species including ants, termites, bees and wasps, the authors found that the lifespan, growth rates and rates of reproduction of whole colonies when considered as superorganisms were nearly indistinguishable from individual organisms.

Science Daily: Insect Colonies Operate as ‘Superorganisms’, New Research Finds

(via Chris Arkenberg)

The BacterioSphere

The savage simplicity of the bacteria is not a sign of its stupidity but a token of its long term commitment to survival. When looking at the tree of life in terms of creative ability it is clear that it is not the bacteria that are primitive; it are the branches ‘above’ them that are caged in an ancient, conservative, over-elaborate and fragile textual heritage. The lichen, that many-coloured plant-like coat of nothingness, that centrifugal furry Mandelbrot cloak spreading-out in search for a minimal splash of sunlight across otherwise lifeless mineral surfaces underscores the point that the vortex may be the ideal but that the bacterial condition is above strict obedience to even its own principles.

Full Story: Social Fiction

(Thanks Algomantra)

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