On Volunteer-Computing and Self-driving car fuzzy controllers in the sunny Cádiz

Every two years, the International Conference on Information Processing and Management of Uncertainty in Knowledge-Based Systems (IPMU) brings together the most important researchers in the area of uncertainty and fuzzy systems. As I am working in Cadiz, it was a great opportunity to present some of the latest work that the Geneura group has recently developed.

The first of these has been developed together with the Technical Institute of Tijuana and describes the social behaviour of users of a voluntary computer system. It is very interesting to discover how the use of a leaderboard makes users spend more time collaborating. Take  a look to the presentation:

Mario García Valdez, Juan Julián Merelo Guervós, Lucero Lara, Pablo García-Sánchez:
Increasing Performance via Gamification in a Volunteer-Based Evolutionary Computation System. IPMU (3) 2018: 342-353

Here is the abstract:

Distributed computing systems can be created using volunteers, users who spontaneously, after receiving an invitation, decide to provide their own resources or storage to contribute to a common effort. They can, for instance, run a script embedded in a web page; thus, collaboration is straightforward, but also ephemeral, with resources depending on the amount of time the user decides to lend. This implies that the user has to be kept engaged so as to obtain as many computing cycles as possible. In this paper, we analyze a volunteer-based evolutionary computing system called NodIO with the objective of discovering design decisions that encourage volunteer participation, thus increasing the overall computing power. We present the results of an experiment in which a gamification technique is applied by adding a leader-board showing the top scores achieved by registered contributors. In NodIO, volunteers can participate without creating an account, so one of the questions we wanted to address was if the need to register would have a negative impact on user participation. The experiment results show that even if only a small percentage of users created an account, those participating in the competition provided around 90% of the work, thus effectively increasing the performance of the overall system.

 

The second work uses an evolutionary algorithm to optimize the parameters of a fuzzy controller that drives a car in the TORCS video game and continues our previous work. We have been collaborating with Mohammed Salem of University of Mascara along this line for a while.

Mohammed Salem, Antonio Miguel Mora, Juan Julián Merelo Guervós, Pablo García-Sánchez: Applying Genetic Algorithms for the Improvement of an Autonomous Fuzzy Driver for Simulated Car Racing. IPMU (3) 2018: 236-247

Games offer a suitable testbed where new methodologies and algorithms can be tested in a near-real life environment. For example, in a car driving game, using transfer learning or other techniques results can be generalized to autonomous driving environments. In this work, we use evolutionary algorithms to optimize a fuzzy autonomous driver for the open simulated car racing game TORCS. The Genetic Algorithm applied improves the fuzzy systems to set an optimal target speed as well as the instantaneous steering angle during the race. Thus, the approach offer an automatic way to define the membership functions, instead of a manual or hill-climbing descent method. However, the main issue with this kind of algorithms is to define a proper fitness function that best delivers the obtained result, which is eventually to win as many races as possible. In this paper we define two different evaluation functions, and prove that fine-tuning the controller via evolutionary algorithms robustly finds good results and that, in many cases, they are able to play very competitively against other published results, with a more relying approach that needs very few parameters to tune. The optimized fuzzy-controllers (one per fitness) yield a very good performance, mainly in tracks that have many turning points, which are, in turn, the most difficult for any autonomous agent. Experimental results show that the enhanced controllers are very competitive with respect to the embedded TORCS drivers, and much more efficient in driving than the original fuzzy-controller.

 

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Master of Evolution! Using Genetic Algorithms to generate decks for the game HearthStone

This September we attended to the IEEE CIG 2017 Conference in Santorini, Greece, to present the paper “Evolutionary Deckbuilding in HearthStone”. This paper was written in collaboration with our colleagues Alberto Tonda and Giovanni Squillero.

The story of this paper started a (not so) long time ago while me and Alberto were discussing about how awesome HearthStone is. Suddenly, we thought about how easy it would be to create the constraints for the uGP framework, and that there were some open source simulators of the game. In a while, we already had the constraints, the simulator adapted to accept individuals from uGP, and some experiments running.

And we finished the paper after, of course.

You can download the paper draft from here (the electronic original version is not available yet).

And here is the presentation:

The abstract:

—One of the most notable features of collectible card games is deckbuilding, that is, defining a personalized deck before the real game. Deckbuilding is a challenge that involves a big and rugged search space, with different and unpredictable behaviour
after simple card changes and even hidden information. In this paper, we explore the possibility of automated deckbuilding: a genetic algorithm is applied to the task, with the evaluation delegated to a game simulator that tests every potential deck against a varied and representative range of human-made decks.
In these preliminary experiments, the approach has proven able to create quite effective decks, a promising result that proves that, even in this challenging environment, evolutionary algorithms can find good solutions.

How good are different languages at runnig evolutionary algorithms?

As part of the EvoStar conference, which took place last week, we presented the poster Benchmarking Languages for Evolutionary Algorithms, where, with help from many friends in Open Science fashion, we tested several a bunch of compiled and scripting languages on several common evolutionary operations: crossover, mutation and OneMax.

It was presented in poster form, and you had to be there to actually understand it. Since you are not, it’s better if you use this comments (or those at the poster) to inquire about it. Or you can check out the interactive presentation we also did, which in fact includes data and everything in the source.
This work is ongoing, and you are very welcome to participate. Just take a peek at the repo, and do a pull request.

Enviada la versión definitiva del trabajo “Predicción a muy corto plazo de series temporales de volumen de tráfico rodado mediante co-evolución de RNFBR”

Tras realizar las correspondientes modificaciones indicadas por los revisores del congreso MAEB 2015, hemos procedido a enviar la versión definitiva del trabajo, usando para ello la famosa plataforma EasyChair.
Cabe recordar que MAEB’2015 se celebrará en Mérida-Almendralejo, durante los días 4 al 6 de Febrero de 2015, y estará organizada por el Centro Universitario de Mérida, el cual pertenece a la Universidad de Extremadura.
Toda la info del congreso en: http://www.eweb.unex.es/eweb/maeb2015/

[Paper] A Methodology to Develop Service Oriented Evolutionary Algorithms

Paper about our methodology for service oriented EAs

OSGiLiath Evolutionary Framework

Our paper A Methodology to Develop Service Oriented Evolutionary Algorithms has been published in the proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Intelligent Distributed Computing – IDC’2014. This paper is a resume of the SOA-EA methodology, one of the chapters of my thesis (available here). The presentation, made by JJ Merelo, is quite cool:

http://jj.github.io/pres-idc-2014/index.html#/home

The abstract:

This paper proposes a methodology to design and implement Evolutionary Algorithms using the Service Oriented Architecture paradigm. This paradigm allows to deal with some of the shortcomings in the Evolutionary Algorithms area, facilitating the development, integration, standardization of services that conform a evolutionary algorithm, and, besides, the dynamic alteration of those elements in runtime.
A four-step methodology to design services for Evolutionary Algorithms is presented: identification, specification, implementation and deployment. Also, as an example of application of this methodology, an adaptive algorithm is developed.

You can download the paper draft from…

View original post 15 more words

Free access to paper accepted at GECCO’14

During 1 month, papers accepted at GECCO1’4 will be freely available. Thus, you can get and read our papers:

  • “Assessing different architectures for evolutionary algorithms in javascript” by Juan Julián Merelo, Pedro Castillo, Antonio Mora, Anna I. Esparcia-Alcázar, Víctor M. Rivas Santos (doi 10.1145/2598394.2598460) at http://goo.gl/jqLud5
  • NodEO, a multi-paradigm distributed evolutionary algorithm platform in JavaScript” by Juan-Julián Merelo, Pedro Castillo, Antonio Mora, Anna Esparcia-Alcázar, Víctor Rivas-Santos (doi:10.1145/2598394.2605688) at http://goo.gl/eFmv1T
  • “Enforcing corporate security policies via computational intelligence techniques” by Antonio M. Mora, Paloma De las Cuevas, Juan Julián Merelo, Sergio Zamarripa, Anna I. Esparcia-Alcázar (doi: 10.1145/2598394.2605438) at http://goo.gl/33gWES
  • A methodology for designing emergent literary backstories on non-player characters using genetic algorithms”, by Rubén Héctor García-Ortega, Pablo García-Sánchez, Antonio Miguel Mora, Juan Julián Merelo (doi: 10.1145/2598394.2598482) at http://goo.gl/9CEcMc

Enjoy!

Evolution using JavaScript in EvoStar

JavaScript, despite its age, is considered now an emergent language, since it is starting to have a ecosystem that allows the development of complex and high-performance applications. That is why in the recent EvoStar we had a poster that uses evolutionary algorithms libraries written using it. It is based on MOOTools to create an object-oriented browser-based library called jsEO, and is entitled An object-oriented library in JavaScript to build modular and flexible cross-platform evolutionary algorithms.