Everything old is new again: Neuroevolution in ML

Great article from Science magazine on a resurgence of research on neuroevolution, the idea of allowing neural networks to mutate and select the best performers, rather than teaching them:

Neuroevolution, a process of mutating and selecting the best neural networks, has previously led to networks that can compose music, control robots, and play the video game Super Mario World. But these were mostly simple neural nets that performed relatively easy tasks or relied on programming tricks to simplify the problems they were trying to solve. “The new results show that—surprisingly—you may actually not need any tricks at all,” says Kenneth Stanley, a computer scientist at Uber and a co-author on all five studies. “That means that complex problems requiring a large network are now accessible to neuroevolution, vastly expanding its potential scope of application.”

Also interesting that the papers cited were published by Uber. A lot of effort going into autonomous driving of course by a number of very well-resourced companies and the impact of all that money and effort is bearing fruit.

Everything I need to know in life I learned from watching television.

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