A novel genetic algorithm (GA) using minimal representation size cluster (MRSC) analysis is designed and implemented for solving multimodal function optimization problems. The problem of multimodal function optimization is framed within a hypothesize-and-test paradigm using minimal representation size (minimal complexity) for species formation and a GA. A multiple-population GA is developed to identify different species. The number of populations, thus the number of different species, is determined by the minimal representation size criterion. Therefore, the proposed algorithm reveals the unknown structure of the multimodal function when a priori knowledge about the function is unknown. The effectiveness of the algorithm is demonstrated on a number of multimodal test functions. The proposed scheme results in a highly parallel algorithm for finding multiple local minima. In this paper, a path-planning algorithm is also developed based on the MRSC-GA algorithm. The algorithm utilizes MRSC_GA for planning paths for mobile robots, piano-mover problems, and N-link manipulators. The MRSC_GA is used for generating multipaths to provide alternative solutions to the path-planning problem. The generation of alternative solutions is especially important for planning paths in dynamic environments. A novel iterative multiresolution path representation is used as a basis for the GA coding. The effectiveness of the algorithm is demonstrated on a number of two-dimensional path-planning problems.

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