Computational Modelling Group

The Origins of Communication Revisited

1st July 2010
13th April 2011
Research Team
Jordi Arranz
Jason Noble

Illustration of the evolved sequence of behaviours in a typical case. A: agents rotate until one reaches a favoured orientation. B: the first agent to achieve this starts moving backwards and forwards. C: the second agent orbits the first until it is alig

Quinn (2001) sought to demonstrate that communication be- tween simulated agents could be evolved without pre-defined communication channels. Quinn’s work was exciting because it showed the potential for ALife models to look at the real origin of communication; however, the work has never been replicated. In order to test the generality of Quinn’s result we use a similar task but a completely different agent architecture. We find that qualitatively similar behaviours emerge, but it is not clear whether they are genuinely communicative. We extend Quinn’s work by adding perceptual noise and internal state to the agents in order to promote ritualization of the nascent signal. Results were inconclusive; philosophical implications are discussed.


Life sciences simulation: Ecology, Evolution

Algorithms and computational methods: Agents, Evolutionary Algorithms

Programming languages and libraries: C++

Transdisciplinary tags: Complex Systems