University of Hertfordshire

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An informational study of the evolution of codes and of emerging concepts in populations of agents

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-210
Number of pages15
JournalArtificial life
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2016


We consider the problem of the evolution of a code within a structured population of agents. The agents try to maximise their information about their environment by acquiring information from the outputs of other agents in the population. A naive use of information- theoretic methods would assume that every agent knows how to “interpret” the information offered by other agents. However, this assumes that one “knows” which other agents one observes, and thus which code they use. In our model, however, we wish to preclude that: it is not clear which other agents an agent is observing, and the resulting usable information is therefore influenced by the universality of the code used and by which agents an agent is “listening” to. We further investigate whether an agent who does not directly perceive the environment can distinguish states by observing other agents’ outputs. For this purpose, we consider a population of different types of agents “talking” about different concepts, and try to extract new ones by considering their outputs only.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Andres C. Burgos and Daniel Polani, ‘An Informational Study of the Evolution of Codes and of Emerging Concepts in Populations of Agents’, Artificial Life, Vol. 22 (2): 196-210, Spring 2016. The Version of Record is available online at DOI: Published by MIT Press.

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