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We are creating this project for the Computational Cognitive Science (PSY 365) class at Reed College in an attempt to model the evolution of communication. The simulation consists of a world of primates, trees, fruit, water, and possibly a predator. The primates have an intricate cognitive structure guiding their behavior. They are initialized with basic behaviors, such as finding and eating food, as well as randomized parameters to increase behavioral diversity. The simulation will eventually incorporate reproduction and mutation, but currently only makes use of in life learning done by each individual primate. There is a pdf of the original proposal here: http://people.reed.edu/~headb/TeamPrimolphin/Project_Primolphin_Proposal.pdf, which contains a more detailed account of the primates cognitive structure, as well as background and references. (Note that the planned "Conjunction Network" has not, and probably will not, be implemented.)
The simulation is initialized with 3 bodies of water (the blue tiles), 50 trees, and 10 primates (represented by the orange symbols). Messages are represented by translucent circles centered at the primate sending the message. All primates touching a message can hear it. The color of the circle represents which message is being sent. Primates can send multiple messages on a single tick and the colors of the messages will overlap. Behavior surrounding messages is initially random (messages have no inherent meaning).
The actors do the following each tick:
- Primates: Perceive the world (they have a limited FOV) and internal indicators (energy, hunger, thirst, loneliness, happiness, and fear), update internal cognitive structures accordingly, and select and perform actions. Their cognitive structure is quite complex, see the pdf for details.
- Trees: Have a certain chance of growing fruit.
- Fruit: Decreases slightly in nutritional value.
- Predator: Wanders if it can't see any primates, runs towards them if it does. If it is touching a primate, it will bite it, damaging the primate. After biting a primate, the predator must return to water before doing anything else.
- Water: Just sits there.
- Messages: Disappears after 2 ticks.
Clicking on a primate will display its working memory in a box that follows it around. Click on the box to remove it. Clicking on a primate also outputs all of its internal cognitive information to the console, though as this is a lot of information, we highly recommend enabling unlimited buffering before using this.
To add a predator, click on the top left "Toggle Predator" button. The predator will be added at a random location. Click the button again to remove the predator.
We have not yet had a chance to extract results from our simulation yet. This is more a demonstration of the current state of the cognitive architecture than it is an example of learning to communicate at this point.
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