This paper presents a model to predict the convergence quality of genetic algorithms based on the size of the population. The model is based on an analogy between selection in GAs and one-dimensional random walks. Using the solution to a classic random walk problem—the gambler's ruin—the model naturally incorporates previous knowledge about the initial supply of building blocks (BBs) and correct selection of the best BB over its competitors. The result is an equation that relates the size of the population with the desired quality of the solution, as well as the problem size and difficulty. The accuracy of the model is verified with experiments using additively decomposable functions of varying difficulty. The paper demonstrates how to adjust the model to account for noise present in the fitness evaluation and for different tournament sizes.

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