Lee Spector, W. B. Langdon, Una-May O'Reilly, Peter Angeline
Welcome to the third volume of Advances in Genetic Programming series. The Genetic Programming (GP) field has matured considerably since the first two volumes were produced in conjunction with workshops held at the International Conference on Genetic Algorithms (ICGA) [Kinnear, Jr., 1994,Angeline and Kinnear, Jr., 1996]. During the 1993 and 1995 ICGA conferences the interest in GP was strong but within this broader community there were only a few presentation and publication slots for GP work. The Advances volumes therefore provided an important outlet for creative new work in GP. Interest in GP continued to grow and there is now a separate annual conference on GP in the USA, as well as a European workshop on GP and several other conferences that regularly feature GP themes (see Section 1.2).
Since annual conferences now serve the function of quickly disseminating concise descriptions of current research, it is appropriate to update the role of the Advances series. As editors, we decided that this volume should be highly selective and focus solely on genuine advances that we feel are outstanding and will have broad impact on those interested in GP.
The volume consists of a combination of invited and contributed chapters. A call for contributions to the book was circulated electronically on the genetic programming mailing list1 and in several other forums. The call for contributions stated that the ``primary criterion by which submissions will be evaluated is the likely impact on the future work of other theoreticians and practitioners.'' We also invited a number of active researchers who previously demonstrated significant contributions to submit chapters that they felt best addressed the criteria in the call for contributions. All chapters were reviewed by the editors, sometimes with the aid of additional specialists, and only those deemed to be true advances in the field were selected for inclusion in the book. We turned away several otherwise solid and interesting papers that we felt fell short of our standards for anticipated impact. We gave the accepted chapters more pages than in previous volumes, and we conducted an intensive, iterative review/revision process in order to produce chapters of the highest possible quality. We believe that the solicitation procedure, the review criteria, and the editing process were all successful, producing an outstanding collection of chapters that will endure as being critical and influential to practitioners of GP.
For those new to GP we start in Section 1.1 with a description of the basic genetic programming algorithm. Sections 1.2 and 1.3 contain additional sources of information and public domain software implementations of GP that we hope will be of wide interest. Finally, for all readers, Section 1.4 provides an overview of the remaining chapters of the book that we hope will encourage the simply curious reader to browse creatively and the more deliberate reader to immediately find sought-after material.