About the BOTS Project

The Project's Aims

The Block Organisation and Transport System, also known as BOTS, is an undergraduate Systems Analysis, Design and Programming Project at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean. Our supervisor, George Bryan, has set us the task of writing software to simulate robots moving objects around a factory. The robots optimise this task through genetic programming code.

The robots will be able to move the objects, namely coloured blocks, from a delivery area to an appropriate receptacle, called a bin. Through genetic programming, the robots should be able to optimise this task, and adapt to changes within the factory environment.

Users should be able to define the factory environment, including the location of bins and delivery areas, the number of bots, and their starting positions. The software will simulate the robots' ability to interact with the environment through sensors and mobility hardware. The output is a rule set, suitable for programming real-life robots in the specified environment.

When completed, this project will be a framework designed for further experimentation with genetic programming, possibly leading to the implementation of robots in real life.

About the Code

The project is divided into four components: the environment simulator, the "brain", the Graphic User Interface, and a facility to design environment templates. The latter is known as TED (TEmplate Editor), and is designed to allow users to create templates that represent any floor.

The environment and GUI code is being written in Borland Delphi, and the brain component is being created using Allegro Common LISP. More information about what the components do is contained in the Overview of the Components section of the BOTSsim Final Report.

Genetic Programming in BOTSsim

This document also discusses the fitness functions that we have tried. Finding a suitable fitness function has been one of the project's greatest challenges. We even attempted to take a shortcut by using a technique that we call mirroring.

Conclusion

We imagine that the BOTS project will be continued in the Autumn semester of 1998. We wish success for the group that does the work, and hope to hear of their progress. We also suggest they read our section on recommendations for future work.


Last edit: MikZ, 27 November 1997.

If you have any further comments or queries, please feel free to mail us at sad9709@st.nepean.uws.edu.au