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The Artificial Ant Problem


The artificial ant problem is described in [16, pages 147--155,]. It is a well studied problem and was chosen as it has a simple fitness function. Briefly the problem is to devise a program which can successfully navigate an artificial ant along a twisting trail on a square toroidal grid. The program can use three operations, Move, Right and Left, to move the ant forward one square, turn to the right or turn to the left. Each of these operations take one time unit. The sensing function IfFoodAhead looks into the square the ant is currently facing and then executes one of its two arguments depending upon whether that square contains food or is empty. Two other functions, Prog2 and Prog3, are provided. These take two and three arguments respectively which are executed in sequence.

The artificial ant must follow the ``Santa Fe trail'', which consists of 144 squares with 21 turns. There are 89 food units distributed non-uniformly along it. Each time the ant enters a square containing food it eats it. The amount of food eaten is used as the fitness measure of the controlling program.

William B Langdon
Tue Jun 10 12:12:55 BST 1997