An ongoing discussion in biology concerns whether intrinsic mortality, or senescence, is programmed or not. The death (i.e. removal) of an individual solution is an inherent feature in evolutionary algorithms that can potentially explain how intrinsic mortality can be beneficial in natural systems. This paper investigates the relationship between mutation rate and mortality rate with a steady state genetic algorithm that has a specific intrinsic mortality rate. Experiments were performed on a predefined deceptive fitness landscape, the hierarchical if-and-only-if function (H-IFF). To test whether the relationship between mutation and mortality rate holds for more complex systems, an agent-based spatial grid model based on the H-IFF function was also investigated. This paper shows that there is a direct correlation between the evolvability of a population and an indiscriminate intrinsic mortality rate to mutation rate ratio. Increased intrinsic mortality or increased mutation rate can cause a random drift that can allow a population to find a global optimum. Thus, mortality in evolutionary algorithms does not only explain evolvability, but might also improve existing algorithms for deceptive/rugged landscapes. Since an intrinsic mortality rate increases the evolvability of our spatial model, we bolster the claim that intrinsic mortality can be beneficial for the evolvability of a population.

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