Uncertain Quality-Diversity: Evaluation methodology and new methods for Quality-Diversity in Uncertain Domains
Quality-Diversity optimisation (QD) has proven to yield promising results across a broad set of applications. However, QD approaches struggle in the presence of uncertainty in the environment, as it impacts their ability to quantify the true performance and novelty of solutions. This problem has been highlighted multiple times independently in previous literature. In this work, we propose to uniformise the view on this problem through four main contributions. First, we formalise a common framework for uncertain domains: the Uncertain QD setting, a special case of QD in which fitness and descriptors for each solution are no longer fixed values but distribution over possible values. Second, we propose a new methodology to evaluate Uncertain QD approaches, relying on a new per-generation sampling budget and a set of existing and new metrics specifically designed for Uncertain QD. Third, we propose three new Uncertain QD algorithms: Archive-sampling, Parallel-Adaptive-sampling and Deep-Grid-sampling. We propose these approaches taking into account recent advances in the QD community toward the use of hardware acceleration that enable large numbers of parallel evaluations and make sampling an affordable approach to uncertainty. Our final and fourth contribution is to use this new framework and the associated comparison methods to benchmark existing and novel approaches. We demonstrate once again the limitation of MAP-Elites in uncertain domains and highlight the performance of the existing Deep-Grid approach, and of our new algorithms. The goal of this framework and methods is to become an instrumental benchmark for future works considering Uncertain QD.