4.0 2D Insect Simulator
1. Simulation Purpose
The 2D insect is the latest step in my overall research. The goal of this project is to reproduce the work done by Dr. Randall Beer to produce a virtual insect that is completely controlled by a neural network, and that can survive for an indefinite amount of time in an environment with numerous obstacles and some food. No behavior will be explicitly programmed into this simulated insect. In other words, nowhere in the simulation code will there be a line that says "if the food is to the right of you then turn right." Everything the insect does results solely from the dynamic interactions between the different neurons in its brain. These neurons detect things from the environment like odor from food, and they move the parts of the insect's body like its legs and mouth. It is up to this network of neurons to produce the correct timing and synchronization required to produce behavior that will allow the insect to remain alive. In order to stay alive the insect must be able to navigate its way around its environment so that it can find and eat food. If it does not eat, then it will die.
2. Section Overview
The first part of this section is a discussion on how to model a neuron, and the different types of neurons and synapses that are used in this simulation. Then there is a brief description of the simulated insect and its environment. After that the discussion moves on to talk about the difficulties involved in walking and how the neural net solves the problem. After that is a description of how the insect explores its environment. Then there is section on how the insect finds and eats food, and how it dies. Finally, the last topic of this section shows the results of several different long-term runs of this simulated system.