# Genetic Algorithms commonly used selection, replacement, and variation operators Fernando Lobo University of Algarve

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1 Genetic Algorithms commonly used selection, replacement, and variation operators Fernando Lobo University of Algarve

2 Outline Selection methods Replacement methods Variation operators

3 Selection Methods

4 Components of a GA Initialization usually at random, but can use prior knowledge. Selection give preference to better solutions. Variation create new solutions through crossover and mutation. Replacement combine original population with newly created solutions.

5 Selection Various methods can be used. Main idea is to make copies of solutions that perform better at the expense of solutions that perform worse. Two major classes of methods: Proportionate Ordinal

6 Proportionate-based methods Probability of selecting a solution is proportional to its fitness value. Probability p select (X) of selecting X from population P(t) is Fitness is assumed to be positive.

7 Proportionate-based methods We will look at two methods: Roulette Wheel Stochastic Universal Sampling (SUS)

8 Roulette Wheel

9 Roulette Wheel Fitness of an individual corresponds to a slice of the roulette. Implementation: Fitnesses are mapped to contiguous segments of a line. Each individual's segment is equal in size to its fitness. A uniform random number is generated and the individual whose segment spans the random number is selected. Spin the roulette N times in order to select N individuals.

10 Roulette Wheel: an example No. chromosome fitness fraction of total Totals:

11 Stochastic Universal Sampling (SUS) Make N equally spaced marks. Generate a uniform random number in [0,1/N]. That number is the position of the 1 st mark. (equivalent to spinning the equally spaced marks on top of the roulette. Just need to spin it once.)

12 Roulette Wheel vs SUS What s the difference? SUS has less variance. SUS is computationally more efficient.

13 Ordinal-base methods Probability of selecting an individual depends on its relative order (or ranking) compared with other members. Two commonly used methods: tournament selection truncation selection

14 Tournament selection Pick s individuals and keep the best one. s is a parameter. We used s=2 in our example by hand. Two variations: with replacement without replacement

15 With and without replacement Imagine that we are picking individuals from a bag. With replacement, after picking s individuals, we put them back in the bag. Without replacement, we do not put them back in the bag. What s the difference? without replacement has less variance (just like SUS has less variance compared to the roulette wheel).

16 Truncation selection Selects a given percentage τ of the best individuals in the population. τ is a parameter. Ex: τ=0.25 means selecting the top 25% individuals. Make multiple copies of individuals, as needed. with τ=0.25 we would make 4 copies of each, in order to select N individuals.

17 Proportionate vs ordinal-based methods Fitness proportionate-based methods have 2 major drawbacks: super individual can take over the population too quickly. search tends to stall when all the individuals have about the same fitness. Ordinal-based methods are often preferred. Enable a sustained pressure towards better solutions. Can control selection pressure easily.

18 Replacement Methods

19 Components of a GA Initialization usually at random, but can use prior knowledge. Selection give preference to better solutions. Variation create new solutions through crossover and mutation. Replacement combine original population with newly created solutions.

20 Replacement Newly created solutions replace some (or all) of the current solutions. Delete-all or full replacement all previous solutions are deleted. Steady-state replacement Some of the old solutions become part of the new population.

21 Steady-state replacement Different strategies can be used to choose solutions to be replaced choose randomly choose the worst Whenever there is the guarantee that the best solution never dies, GAs are said to be elitist. Percentage of replaced individuals is called the generation gap.

22 Variation Operators

23 Components of a GA Initialization usually at random, but can use prior knowledge. Selection give preference to better solutions. Variation create new solutions through crossover and mutation. Replacement combine original population with newly created solutions.

24 Variation operators in GAs Let s look at some of the commonly used variation operators for GAs. for binary strings. for real-valued vectors and permutations.

25 Commonly used crossover operators for binary strings. One-point, two-point, k-point crossover Uniform crossover

26 One-point crossover A crossing position is chosen at random and the two parents exchange all their bits after that position (like we did in our example by hand).

27 Two-point crossover Two crossing positions are chosen at random and the two parents exchange all their bits between the two locations.

28 k-point crossover Can generalize method to k crossing positions. Here is an example with k=4.

29 Uniform crossover For each position, exchange alleles with a given probability (typically 0.5). Here s an example with (1=exchange, 0=don t exchange)

30 k-point vs uniform crossover 1-point, 2-point,, k-point crossover establish an implicit linkage among genes (string positions). Positions close to each other are likely to be treated together (either exchanged or not). Uniform crossover treats every position independently. It is independent of the ordering of the genes.

31 Other representations Problem solutions are not always represented as binary strings. Can also be represented over strings of variables, each defined over a finite alphabet, vectors of real values, permutations, sets, among others.

32 Other representations: two approaches 1. Map original representation to binary strings. May be far from trivial. 2. Modify variation operators. Manipulate the new representation directly. (Nowadays, this is the approach followed most often.)

33 Map original representation to binary strings May be difficult to design a one-to-one mapping. Not all admissible solutions considered. May be far from trivial in some cases. But may introduce new opportunities to discover problem regularities (more on this later in the course).

34 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary Solutions to many real-world problems can be encoded as vectors of real-valued numbers. Many ways of mapping real numbers to binary strings of fixed length. what if mapping is not one-to-one? what about accuracy?

35 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary Assume real-valued variable can obtain values in [a,b] with a < b. We would like to encode a vector of such variables in binary. We can use k bits to represent each variable. A vector of n real variables would require n*k bits.

36 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary The k bits of each variable X i are interpreted as the binary representation of an integer k i, from 0 to 2 k -1. The value of X i would then be given by Precision is (b - a) / (2 k - 1)

37 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary Example: X in [2.0,5.0] represented with k=10 bits maps to 2.0, maps to 5.0 Precision = ( ) / maps to ( ) 91 /

38 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary The more bits to represent a real value, the better the accuracy of the representation. But with more bits the GA takes longer. Appropriate value of k depends on the desired accuracy of the solution, and on the ruggedness of the fitness landscape.

39 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary Assuming equidistance values can be very inefficient. After a few generations of the GA, most variables will have their values concentrated in one or several smaller regions of [a,b]. Can use an adaptive discretization Idea: use more bits to subintervals that appear in the population most frequently.

40 Map original representation to binary strings. Example: Real! Binary Problems: Hamming cliffs. small difference in decoded value may need a big difference in the encoded value (ex: 7 -> 8, > 1000) cause difficulties to a gradual search in a continuous space. Gray coding can attenuate that. Difficulty to achieve any arbitrary precision. Variable bounds may not be known a priori.

41 Modifying variation operators It is often better to work directly with the original representation. We must modify the standard crossover and mutation operators.

42 Some extensions are trivial Solutions represented by strings over a finite (non-binary) alphabet. Standard crossover operators don t need to be modified Mutation has to be changed change the variable value to any other admissible value (makes sense for nominal values). change the value to another value in such a way that small changes have a higher probability than large changes (makes sense for ordinal values).

43 Variation operators for real-valued vectors Let s look at 1 mutation and 3 popular crossover operators for real-valued vectors. Mutation Gaussian mutation Crossover Discrete crossover Arithmetic crossover Simulated binary crossover (SBX)

44 Gaussian mutation Each variable is modified by adding a random number sampled from a Normal distribution with zero mean. The variance of the Normal distribution gives the strength of the mutation. Typically significantly smaller than the range of values of the variable.

45 Discrete crossover It s just like the standard crossover operators for binary strings. Pick two individuals and exchange some of their variable values.

46 Arithmetic crossover Select a location i at random and generate a random number α in [0,1]. Let X i and Y i be the variables in the two parents at position i. These values are mapped to X i and Y i as follows Can be applied to several variables.

47 Simulated binary crossover (SBX) Proposed by Deb and Agrawal (1995) Idea is to manipulate real variables as if they were encoded in binary strings. but without the problem of Hamming cliffs, fixed precision, and bounded variables. Parts of the next slides taken from:

48 SBX (cont.) An important property of crossover The average of the decoded parameter values is the same before and after the crossover operation.

49 SBX (cont.) If the decoded parameter values become closer to each other (as in the previous example), the crossover is said to be a contracting crossover. If they move away from each other, the crossover is said to be an expanding crossover.

50 SBX (cont.) Spread factor β Spread factor β is defined as the ratio of the distance between the children to that of the parents.

51 SBX (cont.)

52 SBX (cont.) SBX was designed to simulate the behaviour of a binary coded GA with one-point crossover. SBX obeys to, Average Property: the average of the decoded parameter values is conserved. Spread Factor Property: most crossover events correspond to a spread factor of β 1. (i.e. children tend to be close to their parents).

53 SBX (cont.): creating the offspring

54 SBX (cont.): How to obtain β? Use a similar probability distribution. Deb and Agrawal proposed this one:

55 SBX (cont.): effect of n

56 SBX (cont.): sampling a β value

57 SBX (cont.) We can find the area by integrating the probability density function. Then equate it to u and solve for β. Result:

58 More about SBX Read the paper by Deb and Agrawal. You can get code for it at

59 Modifying variation operators: permutations In many problems, solutions are represented as permutations. Ex: Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). Standard crossover operators don t work children may not result in permutations. One approach is to repair the resulting solution. Another approach is to design an operator that only produces permutations.

60 Variation operators for permutations Let s look at some popular crossover and mutation operators for permutations. Mutation Swap Inversion Scramble Crossover Partially matched crossover (PMX) Uniform order-based crossover Edge recombination

61 Swap mutation Exchange the elements in the selected locations.

62 Inversion mutation Invert the order of the elements between the selected locations.

63 Scramble mutation Shuffles the elements between the selected locations.

64 Partially matched crossover (PMX) Select 2 positions at random. Then, for each element between the 2 positions, the element is exchanged with the corresponding element in the other parent solution.

65 Uniform order-based crossover Randomly select positions that will not change. The remaining positions are filled with the missing elements copied in the order they appear in the other parent.

66 Edge recombination Specialized operator for the TSP. Motivation: preserve adjacency between permutation elements. Various versions have been proposed. We will look at one one of them called edge-3. What follows is an example taken from Darrell Whitley (EC1, , page 278).

67 Example Given 2 parents: parent 1: g d m h b j f i a k e c parent 2: c e k a g b h i j f m d An edge list is constructed for each city. Edge list of city x contains all the cities in the two parents that are adjacent to x. If some city is adjacent to x in both parents, we flag it with a + sign. Example for city a: +k, g, i

68 Example (cont.): Edge table city Edge list a +k, g, i b +h, g, j c +e, d, g d +m, g, c e +k, +c f +j, m, i g a, b, c, d h +b, i, m i h, j, a, f j +f, i, b k +e, +a m +d, f, h

69 Edge recombination procedure 1. Pick a random city as the initial current city. Remove all references to this city from the edge table. 2. Look at the adjacency list of the current city. If there is a common edge (flagged with +) go to that city. Otherwise, from the cities on the current adjacency list pick the one whose own adjacency list is shorter. Ties are broken randomly. Once a city is visited, remove references to that city.

70 Edge recombination procedure (cont.) 3. Repeat step 2 until a tour is complete or a city has been reached that has no entries in its adjacency list. If not all cities have been visited, reverse the partial tour and try to expand it from the other endpoint. If that s not possible, pick an unvisited city at random to start a new partial tour.

71 Example choices current city reason Partial tour all a random a +k,g,i k common edge a k +e e only choice a k e +c c only choice a k e c d,g d random a k e c d +m,g m common edge a k e c d m f,h h random a k e c d m h +b,i b common edge a k e c d m h b g,h g shorter list a k e c d m h b g a reverse partial tour g b h m d c e k a i i only choice g b h m d c e k a i j,f j random g b h m d c e k a i j f f only choice g b h m d c e k a i j f

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