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TEDA: A Targeted Estimation of Distribution Algorithm

Neumann G (2014) TEDA: A Targeted Estimation of Distribution Algorithm, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Stirling.

This thesis discusses the development and performance of a novel evolutionary algorithm, the Targeted Estimation of Distribution Algorithm (TEDA). TEDA takes the concept of targeting, an idea that has previously been shown to be effective as part of a Genetic Algorithm (GA) called Fitness Directed Crossover (FDC), and introduces it into a novel hybrid algorithm that transitions from a GA to an Estimation of Distribution Algorithm (EDA).

Targeting is a process for solving optimisation problems where there is a concept of control points, genes that can be said to be active, and where the total number of control points found within a solution is as important as where they are located. When generating a new solution an algorithm that uses targeting must first of all choose the number of control points to set in the new solution before choosing which to set. 
The hybrid approach is designed to take advantage of the ability of EDAs to exploit patterns within the population to effectively locate the global optimum while avoiding the tendency of EDAs to prematurely converge. This is achieved by initially using a GA to effectively explore the search space before transitioning into an EDA as the population converges on the region of the global optimum. As targeting places an extra restriction on the solutions produced by specifying their size, combining it with the hybrid approach allows TEDA to produce solutions that are of an optimal size and of a higher quality than would be found using a GA alone without risking a loss of diversity. 
TEDA is tested on three different problem domains. These are optimal control of cancer chemotherapy, network routing and Feature Subset Selection (FSS). Of these problems, TEDA showed consistent advantage over standard EAs in the routing problem and demonstrated that it is able to find good solutions faster than untargeted EAs and non evolutionary approaches at the FSS problem. It did not demonstrate any advantage over other approaches when applied to chemotherapy. 
The FSS domain demonstrated that in large and noisy problems TEDA’s targeting derived ability to reduce the size of the search space significantly increased the speed with which good solutions could be found. The routing domain demonstrated that, where the ideal number of control points is deceptive, both targeting and the exploitative capabilities of an EDA are needed, making TEDA a more effective approach than both untargeted approaches and FDC. Additionally, in none of the problems was TEDA seen to perform significantly worse than any alternative approaches.

TEDA; FDC; Genetic Algorithms; Estimation of Distribution Algorithms; Optimal Control; Feature Selection; Routing; Optimization; Metaheuristics

StatusAwarded thesis
AuthorsNeumann Geoffrey
SupervisorsCairns D, Hussain A
InstitutionUniversity of Stirling
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Qualification levelDoctoral
Publication date2014
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