Conference Proceeding

Comparing Communities of Optima with Funnels in Combinatorial Fitness Landscapes



Thomson S, Daolio F & Ochoa G (2017) Comparing Communities of Optima with Funnels in Combinatorial Fitness Landscapes. In: Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2017, Berlin, Germany, July 15–19, 2017 (GECCO ’17). GECCO ’17: The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Berlin, Germany, 15.07.2017-19.07.2017. New York: ACM, pp. 377-384.

The existence of sub-optimal funnels in combinatorial fitness landscapes has been linked to search difficulty. The exact nature of these structures — and how commonly they appear — is not yet fully understood. Improving our understanding of funnels could help with designing effective diversification mechanisms for a ‘smoothing’ effect, making optimisation easier. We model fitness landscapes as local optima networks. The relationship between communities of local optima found by network clustering algorithms and funnels is explored. Funnels are identified using the notion of monotonic sequences from the study of energy landscapes in theoretical chemistry. NK Landscapes and the Quadratic Assignment Problem are used as case studies. Our results show that communities are linked to funnels. The analysis exhibits relationships between these landscape structures and the performance of trajectory-based metaheuristics such as Simulated Annealing (SA) and Iterated Local Search (ILS). In particular, ILS gets trapped in funnels, and modular communities of optima slow it down. The funnels contribute to lower success for SA. We show that increasing the strength of ILS perturbation helps to ‘smooth’ the funnels and improves performance in multi-funnel landscapes.

Fitness Landscapes; NK Landscapes; Quadratic Assignment Problem; Local Optima Networks; Funnel Landscapes; Combinatorial Optimisation

Authors listed as ECOM Track

FundersEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online31/07/2017
Place of publicationNew York
ConferenceGECCO ’17: The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
Conference locationBerlin, Germany

People (1)


Professor Gabriela Ochoa

Professor Gabriela Ochoa

Professor, Computing Science

Research centres/groups