Computational Neuroethology

My series of articles on Insect AI in the AI Wisdom books is derived from work I did in computational neuroethology. Neuroethology is the study of the neural basis of behavior. Computational neuroethology is defined as studying neuroethology, and using derived principles to simulate neurally derived behaviors. The Nelson Beckman lab at UIUC has a nice archive of well studied behaviors - the page is an excellent compilation of papers, listing many that guided my research (cf. cockroach locomotion).

A few games built around neuroethology are on the web.

Bug Brain is one. The player constructs a neural network using simple elements to control the behavior of a ladybug.

Biobloc is another; it's an online game with a construction set where bodies can be constructed and brains evolved. The resulting creatures are very reminiscent of Karl Sims' simulations of yore (siggraph 1994). These simulations were co-evolved bodies and brains.

This result has the reputation of being hard to reproduce, but glancing through the related videos on YouTube shows considerable recent success. Lee Graham has a fun site with a great many interesting creatures.


For more information:

The scholarpedia has more here.

A good paper, is David Cliff's Computational neuroethology: A provisional manifesto. In J-A. Meyer and S.W. Wilson (Eds), From Animals to Animats 3: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior (pp. 29-39), 1991. I haven't been able to find an online copy of it.

Another difficult to find resource, but one of the best texts on the subject, is D.M. Guthrie's 1980 book, Neuroethology: An Introduction.

Comparative Neuroscience and Neurobiology, 1988, from Birkhauser's Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience is awesome.

And finally, the classic Vehicles, by Valentino Braitenberg.



Content by Nick Porcino (c) 1990-2011