To overcome the problems of hill climbing, where only a small range of the possibilities is explored, and players become specialized to play against close relatives, we suggest an ecological `species' experiment.
Instead of evolving a population using its own individuals as relative fitness measure, we evolve several separated populations. Each population can start with zero knowledge (Stupids) or with a relatively successful weight set (Avoiders, Lefters, Miguels). Fitness for each player will be computed as its success against the individuals of the other populations.
Each species is given different starting point and different environmental settings (World representation, mutation and crossover rates, selection method, etc.). They will adapt one generation after another while retaining their own individual features.
The resulting evolutionary race generates much better general solutions as the winners have to be good against a wider set of opponents, each with particular strengths and weaknesses.
Species model: Four species evolving
simultaneously. Avoider maintains its
initial dominance, while Stupid, who
started with zero knowledge, is steadily
improving. Lefter and Miguel
are slowly decaying.
Applicable knowledge: This champion (blue) from an
evolutionary run among three species (all
starting from scratch) has survived against
very different strategies. Here it shows its
proficiency by playing a good game against a
human opponent (black).