GECCO Tutorial on Runtime Analysis of Population-based Evolutionary Algorithms

Abstract

Populations are at the heart of evolutionary algorithms (EAs). They provide the genetic variation which selection acts upon. A complete picture of EAs can only be obtained if we understand their population dynamics. A rich theory on runtime analysis (also called time-complexity analysis) of EAs has been developed over the last 20 years. The goal of this theory is to show, via rigorous mathematical means, how the performance of EAs depends on their parameter settings and the characteristics of the underlying fitness landscapes. Initially, runtime analysis of EAs was mostly restricted to simplified EAs that do not employ large populations, such as the (1+1) EA. This tutorial introduces more recent techniques that enable runtime analysis of EAs with realistic population sizes.

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