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Computer Science Department

Robotics Research

We built an autonomous robot that provides help for an elderly person, who has limited mobility.

Evolutionary Computation Research

  • What is Evolutionary Computation?
    • Check out a formal definition/description
    • Here's a definition in my own words:  Look at an interesting problem in nature; form virtual animals with arrays of genetic information; allow the organisms to mate; create children by combining parents' genes; apply mutation and fitness functions; purge some animals; repeat for thousands and thousands of generations and observe the final population in terms of the problem at hand.
    • One of our projects
Biologists have developed models to explain why different environmentally induced morphs of the same organism exist over time.  Such conditional strategies are a common form of adaptation to variable environments, whereby an environmental cue allows some individuals to respond to the cue and develop into a morph that is different from the morph of individuals that do not receive the cue.  Recently, these efforts have resulted in two different analytical models that give somewhat different predictions.  We apply evolutionary computation methods to test the two analytical models.  The results bear a remarkable similarity to the results of one of the two analytical models.  Our project involved snails and barnacles (that occur naturally in two different morphs).
  • Three of our publications
    • Townsend, G. C., Hazel, W. and Steffen, B. Relationship of Reproduction and Evolutionary Computation to Analytical Modeling of the Ecological Genetics of Inducible Defenses. Proceedings of the 2012 Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC), Trento, Italy. (Mar. 2012), 1375-1380.
    • Townsend, G. C., Hazel, W. and Smock, R.  Using Evolutionary Computation Methods to Support Analytical Models for the Evolution and Maintenance of Conditional Strategies in Chthamalus anisopomaProceedings of the 2005 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO), (July2005), 409-415. 
    • Briney, K. and Karpinski T.  An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Evolution and Maintenance of Conditional Strategies in Chthamalus anisopoma, Using Genetic Programming and a Quantitative Genetic Model. Proceedings of the 2003 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) Workshops Program, 2003, Chicago. (Student authors/presenters, Kristin Briney and Tod Karpinski, pictured below.)          
  • NSF C-RUI Grant (DEB-0223089, $841,000), "Theoretical and Empirical Studies of a Conditional Strategy: Environmentally Cued Pupal Color in Swallowtail Butterflies." Project director and Principal Investigator: Wade Hazel, Co-Principal Investigators: Chet Fornari Bryan Hanson, Kevin Kinney, Rick Smock, Robert Stark, Gloria Townsend

  • Our Summer 2005 and 2006 DePauw University Student Teams
Ben Steffen (Class of 2005; currently in graduate school at UC Berkeley) Ryan Smith (Class of 2006) presenting research results at November 1, 2006, poster session
gloria2 gloria3


  • Andrew Hadley (Class of 2009) at far right.  Also: three Park Tudor High School (Indianapolis, IN) students who helped us summer 2006:  Josh Kimpel (far left), Amy Maxwell (second from left) and Yunha Moh (second from right).