Runtime analysis of non-elitist populations: from classical optimisation to partial information
Dang, Duc-Cuong and Lehre, Per Kristian (2016) Runtime analysis of non-elitist populations: from classical optimisation to partial information. Algorithmica, 75 (3). pp. 428-461. ISSN 1432-0541
Although widely applied in optimisation, relatively little has been proven rigorously about the role and behaviour of populations in randomised search processes. This paper presents a new method to prove upper bounds on the expected optimisation time of population-based randomised search heuristics that use non-elitist selection mechanisms and unary variation operators. Our results follow from a detailed drift analysis of the population dynamics in these heuristics. This analysis shows that the optimisation time depends on the relationship between the strength of the selective pressure and the degree of variation introduced by the variation operator. Given limited variation, a surprisingly weak selective pressure suffices to optimise many functions in expected polynomial time. We derive upper bounds on the expected optimisation time of non-elitist Evolutionary Algorithms (EA) using various selection mechanisms, including fitness proportionate selection. We show that EAs using fitness proportionate selection can optimise standard benchmark functions in expected polynomial time given a sufficiently low mutation rate.
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