The evolution of learning: An experiment in genetic connectionism

Abstract
This paper explores how an evolutionary process can produce systems that learn. A general framework for the evolution of learning is outlined, and is applied to the task of evolving mechanisms suitable for supervised learning in single-layer neural networks. Dynamic properties of a network’s information-processing capacity are encoded genetically, and these properties are subjected to selective pressure based on their success in producing adaptive behavior in diverse environments. As a result of selection and genetic recombination, various successful learning mechanisms evolve, including the well-known delta rule. The effect of environmental diversity on the evolution of learning is investigated, and the role of different kinds of emergent phenomena in genetic and connectionist systems is discussed.
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