Population-based learning techniques have been proven to be effective in dealing with noise and are thus promising tools for the optimization of robotic controllers, which have inherently noisy performance evaluations. This article discusses how the results and guidelines derived from tests on benchmark functions can be extended to the fitness distributions encountered in robotic learning. We show that the large-amplitude noise found in robotic evaluations is disruptive to the initial phases of the learning process of PSO. Under these conditions, neither increasing the population size nor increasing the number of iterations are efficient strategies to improve the performance of the learning. We also show that PSO is more sensitive to good spurious evaluations of bad solutions than bad evaluations of good solutions, i.e., there is a non-symmetric effect of noise on the performance of the learning.
Posted on: June 27, 2014