Evolving plasticity for autonomous learning under changing environmental conditions

Anil Yaman, Decebal Mocanu, Giovanni Iacca, Matt Coler, George Fletcher, Mykola Pechenizkiy

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A fundamental aspect of learning in biological neural networks (BNNs) is the plasticity property which allows them to modify their configurations during their lifetime. Hebbian learning is a biologically plausible mechanism for modeling the plasticity property based on the local activation of neurons. In this work, we employ genetic algorithms to evolve local learning rules, from Hebbian perspective, to produce autonomous learning under changing environmental conditions. Our evolved synaptic plasticity rules are capable of performing synaptic updates in distributed and self-organized fashion, based only on the binary activation states of neurons, and a reinforcement signal received from the environment. We demonstrate the learning and adaptation capabilities of the ANNs modified by the evolved plasticity rules on a foraging task in a continuous learning settings. Our results show that evolved plasticity rules are highly efficient at adapting the ANNs to task under changing environmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1904.01709v1
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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