When using an evolutionary algorithm to solve a problem involving building blocks we have to grow the building blocks and then mix these building blocks to obtain the (optimal) solution. Finding a good balance between the growing and the mixing process is a prerequisite to get a reliable evolutionary algorithm. Different building blocks can have different probabilities of being mixed. Such differences can easily lead to a loss of the building blocks that are difficult to mix and as a result to premature convergence. By allocating relatively many trials to individuals that contain building blocks with a low mixing probability we can prevent such effects. We developed the mixing evolutionary algorithm (mixEA) in which the allocation of trials is a more explicit procedure than in the standard evolutionary algorithms. Experiments indicate that the mixEA is a reliable optimizer on a set of building block problems that are difficult to handle with more traditional genetic algorithms. In the case that the global optimum is not found, the mixEA creates a small population containing a high concentration of building blocks.

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CWI
Software Engineering [SEN]

van Kemenade, C.H.M. (1997). The mixing evolutionary algorithm : indepedent selection and allocation of trials. Software Engineering [SEN]. CWI.