Lessons from the Evolutionary Computation Bestiary


The field of meta-heuristics has a long history of finding inspiration in natural systems, starting from Evolution Strategies, Genetic Algorithms, and Ant Colony Optimisation in the second half of the 20th century. In the last decades, however, the field has experienced an explosion of metaphor-centred methods claiming to be inspired by increasingly absurd natural (and even supernatural) phenomena - several different types of birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates, soccer and volleyball, reincarnation, zombies, and gods. While metaphors can be powerful inspiration tools, 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 generalisable knowledge or design principles for global optimisation approaches. In this 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 meta-heuristics towards a better balance between inspiration and scientific soundness.

Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Informatics and Digital Engineering > Computer Science
Additional Information: This is the author’s final version of the paper, "Lessons from the Evolutionary Computation Bestiary" which has been accepted for publication in Artificial Life. It is made available in Aston Publications Explorer for non-commercial purposes only, in accordance with the MIT Press Author Posting Guidelines.
Uncontrolled Keywords: meta-heuristics,critical analysis,discussion
Publication ISSN: 1530-9185
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-12-01
Accepted Date: 2022-12-01
Authors: Campelo, Felipe (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8432-4325)
Aranha, Claus


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