In Machine Learning we use minimum-disturbance learning algorithms (e.g., LMS, Backprop) to tune the trainable parameters of topological architectures. Instead of programming a model we expose it to observations and let the algorithm find its optimal parameters. So, in this approach the solution to a task is the set of trainable parameters.

In biology, precocial species are those whose young already possess certain abilities from the moment of birth. There is evidence to show that lizard and snake hatchlings already possess behaviors to escape from predators. Shortly after hatching, ducks are able to swim and eat on their own, and turkeys can recognize predators. These species already have abilities before they are even exposed to the world.

Neuroevolution of augmenting topologies is a research field that aims to simulate exactly this behavior. Specifically, neural network architectures can be found that perform various machine learning tasks without weight training. So, in this approach the solution to a task is the topological architecture.

For more information on this idea check the paper “Weight Agnostic Neural Networks by (Adam Gaier, David Ha).