Vogt, P. (2005) Stability conditions in the evolution of compositional languages: issues in scaling population sizes. In P. Bourgine, F. Kepes and M. Schoenauer (Eds.) Proceedings of the European Conference on Complex Systems.
Abstract This paper investigates the effect of scaling the population size in a simulation studying the emergence and evolution of compositionality in languages. The simulations are based on multi-agent systems that play language games in order to communicate, invent and learn language. The language games are integrated with the iterated learning model that simulates a population turnover, where the population contains adults and children. Experiments show that when the population size is increased, after an initial decrease in performance, the results show an important improvement when the population size is increased further. These results are explained by a hypothesised trade off between increasing difficulties in achieving a conventionalised system and an increased likelihood of finding structures that emerge by chance when the population size increases.