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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E028381/1
Title: Automatic Design of Adaptive Systems using Unconstrained Evolution and Development on the POEtic Platform
Principal Investigator: Tyrrell, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Miller, Dr JF
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronics
Organisation: University of York
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2007 Ends: 31 July 2010 Value (£): 333,131
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioelectronic Devices Cells
Development (Biosciences) New & Emerging Comp. Paradigms
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is unclear how certain future, and probably current, systems can be robustly designed using traditional techniques. For example, the lost Beagle 2 Mars probe illustrated that it is still very difficult to design systems able to cope with unforeseen circumstances. Development is nature's answer to this complexity crisis and is therefore an important and potentially useful avenue of study. In addition, if we are to deal with systems operating in complex dynamical environments, where the environment has significant effects on the operation and structure of the system, development appears the only realistic way forward. Developmental methods also give strong characteristics that enable biological systems to be adaptable to changing circumstances (environment for example) and enable them to be fault-tolerant. These are features we would like to see in our engineered systems. Unconstrained evolution combined with development will prove to be a powerful technique for future system design and implementation. Very recent work has shown that developmental designs can possess a large degree of self-repair even when it wasn't demanded in the initial specification . This project will use unconstrained evolution and development to automatically design hardware capable of autonomous tasks. The system will be evaluated with complexity as a major consideration and in particular, a study of its scaling properties will be made. The engineering outcome of this will be adaptable, efficient, fault-tolerant systems suitable for future technology. The scientific outcome of this will be data on artificial evolution working in a previously unknown manner, thus helping fundamental research into the origin of biological life and the creation of artificial life.
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Organisation Website: http://www.york.ac.uk