A genetic programming hyper-heuristic approach to automated packing

Hyde, Matthew (2010) A genetic programming hyper-heuristic approach to automated packing. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis presents a programme of research which investigated a genetic programming hyper-heuristic methodology to automate the heuristic design process for one, two and three dimensional packing problems.

Traditionally, heuristic search methodologies operate on a space of potential solutions to a problem. In contrast, a hyper-heuristic is a heuristic which searches a space of heuristics, rather than a solution space directly. The majority of hyper-heuristic research papers, so far, have involved selecting a heuristic, or sequence of heuristics, from a set pre-defined by the practitioner. Less well studied are hyper-heuristics which can create new heuristics, from a set of potential components.

This thesis presents a genetic programming hyper-heuristic which makes it possible to automatically generate heuristics for a wide variety of packing problems. The genetic programming algorithm creates heuristics by intelligently combining components. The evolved heuristics are shown to be highly competitive with human created heuristics. The methodology is first applied to one dimensional bin packing, where the evolved heuristics are analysed to determine their quality, specialisation, robustness, and scalability. Importantly, it is shown that these heuristics are able to be reused on unseen problems. The methodology is then applied to the two dimensional packing problem to determine if automatic heuristic generation is possible for this domain. The three dimensional bin packing and knapsack problems are then addressed. It is shown that the genetic programming hyper-heuristic methodology can evolve human competitive heuristics, for the one, two, and three dimensional cases of both of these problems. No change of parameters or code is required between runs. This represents the first packing algorithm in the literature able to claim human competitive results in such a wide variety of packing domains.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Burke, E.K.
Kendall, G.
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 11625
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2010 09:51
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 07:38
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11625

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