Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: Research Program

Experimental cultural knowledge evolution

Cultural evolution considers how culture spreads and evolves with human societies [21]. It applies an an idealised version of the theory of evolution to culture. In computer science, cultural evolution experiments are performed through multi-agent simulation: a society of agents adapts its culture through a precisely defined protocol [16]: agents perform repeatedly and randomly a specific task, called game, and their evolution is monitored. This aims at discovering experimentally the states that agents reach and the properties of these states.

Experimental cultural evolution has been successfully and convincingly applied to the evolution of natural languages [12], [23]. Agents play language games and adjust their vocabulary and grammar as soon as they are not able to communicate properly, i.e. they misuse a term or they do not behave in the expected way. It showed its capacity to model various such games in a systematic framework and to provide convincing explanations of linguistic phenomena. Such experiments have shown how agents can agree on a colour coding system or a grammatical case system.

Work has recently been developed for evolving alignments between ontologies. It can be used to repair alignments better than blind logical repair [19], to create alignments based on entity descriptions [13], to learn alignments from dialogues framed in interaction protocols [14], [18], or to correct alignments until no error remains [17][3] and to start with no alignment [2]. Each study provides new insights and opens perspectives.

We adapt this experimental strategy to knowledge representation [3]. Agents use their, shared or private, knowledge to play games and, in case of failure, they use adaptation operators to modify this knowledge. We monitor the evolution of agent knowledge with respect to their ability to perform the game (success rate) and with respect to the properties satisfied by the resulting knowledge itself. Such properties may, for instance, be:

Our goal is to determine which operators are suitable for achieving desired properties in the context of a particular game.