Sharks, Zombies and Volleyball: Lessons from the Evolutionary Computation Bestiary


The field of optimization metaheuristics has a long history of finding inspiration in natural systems. Starting from classic methods such as Genetic Algorithms and Ant Colony Optimization, more recent methods claim to be inspired by natural (and sometimes even supernatural) systems and phenomena - from birds and barnacles to reincarnation and zombies. Since 2014 we publish a humorous website, The Bestiary of Evolutionary Computation, to catalog these methods, witnessing an explosion of metaphor-heavy algorithms in the literature. While metaphors can be powerful inspiration tools, we argue that the emergence of hundreds of barely discernible algorithmic variants under different labels and nomenclatures has been counterproductive to the scientific progress of the field, as it neither improves our ability to understand and simulate biological systems, nor contributes generalizable knowledge or design principles for global optimization approaches. In this short paper we discuss some of the possible causes of this trend, its negative consequences to the field, as well as some efforts aimed at moving the area of metaheuristics towards a better balance between inspiration and scientific soundness.

Additional Information: Copyright ©2021 for this paper by its authors. Use permitted under Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Event Title: LIFELIKE Computing Systems Workshop 2021
Event Type: Other
Event Dates: 2021-07-19 - 2021-07-19
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computer Science(all)
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2024 17:28
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2021 14:12
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http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Conference contribution
Published Date: 2021-11-13
Accepted Date: 2021-08-23
Authors: Campelo, Felipe (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8432-4325)
Aranha, Claus



Version: Accepted Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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