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*Evolutionary Computation*(2021) 29 (1): 107–128.

Published: 01 March 2021

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Understanding the behaviour of heuristic search methods is a challenge. This even holds for simple local search methods such as 2-OPT for the Travelling Salesperson Problem (TSP). In this article, we present a general framework that is able to construct a diverse set of instances which are hard or easy for a given search heuristic. Such a diverse set is obtained by using an evolutionary algorithm for constructing hard or easy instances which are diverse with respect to different features of the underlying problem. Examining the constructed instance sets, we show that many combinations of two or three features give a good classification of the TSP instances in terms of whether they are hard to be solved by 2-OPT.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2020) 28 (4): 643–675.

Published: 01 December 2020

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We present a study demonstrating how random walk algorithms can be used for evolutionary image transition. We design different mutation operators based on uniform and biased random walks and study how their combination with a baseline mutation operator can lead to interesting image transition processes in terms of visual effects and artistic features. Using feature-based analysis we investigate the evolutionary image transition behaviour with respect to different features and evaluate the images constructed during the image transition process. Afterwards, we investigate how modifications of our biased random walk approaches can be used for evolutionary image painting. We introduce an evolutionary image painting approach whose underlying biased random walk can be controlled by a parameter influencing the bias of the random walk and thereby creating different artistic painting effects.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2019) 27 (4): 559–575.

Published: 01 December 2019

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Evolutionary multiobjective optimization for the classical vertex cover problem has been analysed in Kratsch and Neumann ( 2013 ) in the context of parameterized complexity analysis. This article extends the analysis to the weighted vertex cover problem in which integer weights are assigned to the vertices and the goal is to find a vertex cover of minimum weight. Using an alternative mutation operator introduced in Kratsch and Neumann ( 2013 ), we provide a fixed parameter evolutionary algorithm with respect to OPT , the cost of an optimal solution for the problem. Moreover, we present a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm with standard mutation operator that keeps the population size in a polynomial order by means of a proper diversity mechanism, and therefore, manages to find a 2-approximation in expected polynomial time. We also introduce a population-based evolutionary algorithm which finds a ( 1 + ɛ ) -approximation in expected time O ( n · 2 min { n , 2 ( 1 - ɛ ) O P T } + n 3 ) .

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2019) 27 (3): 525–558.

Published: 01 September 2019

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The generalized travelling salesperson problem is an important NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem for which metaheuristics, such as local search and evolutionary algorithms, have been used very successfully. Two hierarchical approaches with different neighbourhood structures, namely a cluster-based approach and a node-based approach, have been proposed by Hu and Raidl ( 2008 ) for solving this problem. In this article, local search algorithms and simple evolutionary algorithms based on these approaches are investigated from a theoretical perspective. For local search algorithms, we point out the complementary abilities of the two approaches by presenting instances where they mutually outperform each other. Afterwards, we introduce an instance which is hard for both approaches when initialized on a particular point of the search space, but where a variable neighbourhood search combining them finds the optimal solution in polynomial time. Then we turn our attention to analysing the behaviour of simple evolutionary algorithms that use these approaches. We show that the node-based approach solves the hard instance of the cluster-based approach presented in Corus et al. ( 2016 ) in polynomial time. Furthermore, we prove an exponential lower bound on the optimization time of the node-based approach for a class of Euclidean instances.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2019) 27 (1): 1–2.

Published: 01 March 2019

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2019) 27 (1): 3–45.

Published: 01 March 2019

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It has long been observed that for practically any computational problem that has been intensely studied, different instances are best solved using different algorithms. This is particularly pronounced for computationally hard problems, where in most cases, no single algorithm defines the state of the art; instead, there is a set of algorithms with complementary strengths. This performance complementarity can be exploited in various ways, one of which is based on the idea of selecting, from a set of given algorithms, for each problem instance to be solved the one expected to perform best. The task of automatically selecting an algorithm from a given set is known as the per-instance algorithm selection problem and has been intensely studied over the past 15 years, leading to major improvements in the state of the art in solving a growing number of discrete combinatorial problems, including propositional satisfiability and AI planning. Per-instance algorithm selection also shows much promise for boosting performance in solving continuous and mixed discrete/continuous optimisation problems. This survey provides an overview of research in automated algorithm selection, ranging from early and seminal works to recent and promising application areas. Different from earlier work, it covers applications to discrete and continuous problems, and discusses algorithm selection in context with conceptually related approaches, such as algorithm configuration, scheduling, or portfolio selection. Since informative and cheaply computable problem instance features provide the basis for effective per-instance algorithm selection systems, we also provide an overview of such features for discrete and continuous problems. Finally, we provide perspectives on future work in the area and discuss a number of open research challenges.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2017) 25 (4): 673–705.

Published: 01 December 2017

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Randomized search heuristics are frequently applied to NP-hard combinatorial optimization problems. The runtime analysis of randomized search heuristics has contributed tremendously to our theoretical understanding. Recently, randomized search heuristics have been examined regarding their achievable progress within a fixed-time budget. We follow this approach and present a fixed-budget analysis for an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem. We consider the well-known Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP) and analyze the fitness increase that randomized search heuristics are able to achieve within a given fixed-time budget. In particular, we analyze Manhattan and Euclidean TSP instances and Randomized Local Search (RLS), (1+1) EA and (1+ ) EA algorithms for the TSP in a smoothed complexity setting, and derive the lower bounds of the expected fitness gain for a specified number of generations.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2016) 24 (1): 183–203.

Published: 01 March 2016

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Bi-level optimisation problems have gained increasing interest in the field of combinatorial optimisation in recent years. In this paper, we analyse the runtime of some evolutionary algorithms for bi-level optimisation problems. We examine two NP-hard problems, the generalised minimum spanning tree problem and the generalised travelling salesperson problem in the context of parameterised complexity. For the generalised minimum spanning tree problem, we analyse the two approaches presented by Hu and Raidl ( 2012 ) with respect to the number of clusters that distinguish each other by the chosen representation of possible solutions. Our results show that a (1+1) evolutionary algorithm working with the spanning nodes representation is not a fixed-parameter evolutionary algorithm for the problem, whereas the problem can be solved in fixed-parameter time with the global structure representation. We present hard instances for each approach and show that the two approaches are highly complementary by proving that they solve each other’s hard instances very efficiently. For the generalised travelling salesperson problem, we analyse the problem with respect to the number of clusters in the problem instance. Our results show that a (1+1) evolutionary algorithm working with the global structure representation is a fixed-parameter evolutionary algorithm for the problem.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2015) 23 (4): 583–609.

Published: 01 December 2015

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In genetic programming, the size of a solution is typically not specified in advance, and solutions of larger size may have a larger benefit. The flexibility often comes at the cost of the so-called bloat problem: individuals grow without providing additional benefit to the quality of solutions, and the additional elements can block the optimization process. Consequently, problems that are relatively easy to optimize cannot be handled by variable-length evolutionary algorithms. In this article, we analyze different single- and multiobjective algorithms on the sorting problem, a problem that typically lacks independent and additive fitness structures. We complement the theoretical results with comprehensive experiments to indicate the tightness of existing bounds, and to indicate bounds where theoretical results are missing.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2015) 23 (4): 543–558.

Published: 01 December 2015

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Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time . Abstract Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a simple single objective evolutionary algorithm called ( ) EA and a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until they have obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected polynomial time. For the case of monotone functions where the constraints are given by the intersection of matroids, we show that the ( ) EA achieves a ( )-approximation in expected polynomial time for any constant . Turning to nonmonotone symmetric submodular functions with matroid intersection constraints, we show that the GSEMO achieves a -approximation in expected time .

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2015) 23 (1): 131–159.

Published: 01 March 2015

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Many optimization problems arising in applications have to consider several objective functions at the same time. Evolutionary algorithms seem to be a very natural choice for dealing with multi-objective problems as the population of such an algorithm can be used to represent the trade-offs with respect to the given objective functions. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms for multi-objective problems. We consider indicator-based algorithms whose goal is to maximize the hypervolume for a given problem by distributing points on the Pareto front. To gain new theoretical insights into the behavior of hypervolume-based algorithms, we compare their optimization goal to the goal of achieving an optimal multiplicative approximation ratio. Our studies are carried out for different Pareto front shapes of bi-objective problems. For the class of linear fronts and a class of convex fronts, we prove that maximizing the hypervolume gives the best possible approximation ratio when assuming that the extreme points have to be included in both distributions of the points on the Pareto front. Furthermore, we investigate the choice of the reference point on the approximation behavior of hypervolume-based approaches and examine Pareto fronts of different shapes by numerical calculations.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2014) 22 (4): 595–628.

Published: 01 December 2014

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Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation. Abstract Parameterized runtime analysis seeks to understand the influence of problem structure on algorithmic runtime. In this paper, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of evolutionary algorithms and carry out a parameterized analysis of evolutionary algorithms for the Euclidean traveling salesperson problem (Euclidean TSP). We investigate the structural properties in TSP instances that influence the optimization process of evolutionary algorithms and use this information to bound their runtime. We analyze the runtime in dependence of the number of inner points k . In the first part of the paper, we study a EA in a strictly black box setting and show that it can solve the Euclidean TSP in expected time where A is a function of the minimum angle between any three points. Based on insights provided by the analysis, we improve this upper bound by introducing a mixed mutation strategy that incorporates both 2-opt moves and permutation jumps. This strategy improves the upper bound to . In the second part of the paper, we use the information gained in the analysis to incorporate domain knowledge to design two fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) evolutionary algorithms for the planar Euclidean TSP. We first develop a EA based on an analysis by M. Theile, 2009, ”Exact solutions to the traveling salesperson problem by a population-based evolutionary algorithm,” Lecture notes in computer science , Vol. 5482 (pp. 145–155), that solves the TSP with k inner points in generations with probability . We then design a EA that incorporates a dynamic programming step into the fitness evaluation. We prove that a variant of this evolutionary algorithm using 2-opt mutation solves the problem after steps in expectation with a cost of for each fitness evaluation.

Journal Articles

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2010) 18 (4): 617–633.

Published: 01 December 2010

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The main aim of randomized search heuristics is to produce good approximations of optimal solutions within a small amount of time. In contrast to numerous experimental results, there are only a few theoretical explorations on this subject. We consider the approximation ability of randomized search heuristics for the class of covering problems and compare single-objective and multi-objective models for such problems. For the VertexCover problem, we point out situations where the multi-objective model leads to a fast construction of optimal solutions while in the single-objective case, no good approximation can be achieved within the expected polynomial time. Examining the more general SetCover problem, we show that optimal solutions can be approximated within a logarithmic factor of the size of the ground set, using the multi-objective approach, while the approximation quality obtainable by the single-objective approach in expected polynomial time may be arbitrarily bad.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2010) 18 (3): 333–334.

Published: 01 September 2010

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2009) 17 (1): 3–19.

Published: 01 March 2009

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Hybrid methods are very popular for solving problems from combinatorial optimization. In contrast, the theoretical understanding of the interplay of different optimization methods is rare. In this paper, we make a first step into the rigorous analysis of such combinations for combinatorial optimization problems. The subject of our analyses is the vertex cover problem for which several approximation algorithms have been proposed. We point out specific instances where solutions can (or cannot) be improved by the search process of a simple evolutionary algorithm in expected polynomial time.

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*Evolutionary Computation*(2007) 15 (4): 401–410.

Published: 01 December 2007

Abstract

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Successful applications of evolutionary algorithms show that certain variation operators can lead to good solutions much faster than other ones. We examine this behavior observed in practice from a theoretical point of view and investigate the effect of an asymmetric mutation operator in evolutionary algorithms with respect to the runtime behavior. Considering the Eulerian cycle problem we present runtime bounds for evolutionary algorithms using an asymmetric operator which are much smaller than the best upper bounds for a more general one. In our analysis it turns out that a plateau which both algorithms have to cope with changes its structure in a way that allows the algorithm to obtain an improvement much faster. In addition, we present a lower bound for the general case which shows that the asymmetric operator speeds up computation by at least a linear factor.