Monday, May 30, 2011

Computer Evolved Antenna

The Evolution of an Antenna

With a little help from NASA Engineers (Evolvable Systems Group), a computer program designed an antenna for nano-satellite communication.  The goal of ST-5’s mission is to develop small tv sized satellites that can replace large conventional sized satellites.  One problem they faced was the development of a small antenna capable of doing everything the larger antennas can do. 
A novel approach was used to find the best antenna design, evolution.  The evolution of the antenna was done inside a computer. Many random designs were tested in a computer simulation.  The computer judged their performance against certain goals for the design: efficiency, a narrow or wide broadcast angle, frequency range, and so on.
As in nature, only the best performers were kept, and these served as parents of a new generation. To make the new generation, the traits of the best designs were randomly mixed by the computer to produce fresh, new designs-just as a father and mother's genes are mixed to make unique children. This new generation was again tested in the computer simulation, and the best designs became the parents of yet another generation.

This process was repeated thousands, millions of times, until it settled onto an optimal, shark-like design that wouldn't improve any further. With today's fast computers, millions of generations can be simulated in only a day or so.

The result: an excellent antenna with an odd shape no human would, or could, design.

No comments:

Post a Comment