Efficient Reinforcement Learning through Symbiotic Evolution

  • David E. Moriarty
  • Risto Miikkulainen


This article presents a new reinforcement learning method called SANE (Symbiotic, Adaptive Neuro-Evolution), which evolves a population of neurons through genetic algorithms to form a neural network capable of performing a task. Symbiotic evolution promotes both cooperation and specialization, which results in a fast, efficient genetic search and discourages convergence to suboptimal solutions. In the inverted pendulum problem, SANE formed effective networks 9 to 16 times faster than the Adaptive Heuristic Critic and 2 times faster than Q-learning and the GENITOR neuro-evolution approach without loss of generalization. Such efficient learning, combined with few domain assumptions, make SANE a promising approach to a broad range of reinforcement learning problems, including many real-world applications.


Neuro-Evolution Reinforcement Learning Genetic Algorithms Neural Networks 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Moriarty
    • 1
  • Risto Miikkulainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer SciencesThe University of Texas at AustinAustin

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