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    The Effects of Constant and Bit-Wise Neutrality on Problem Hardness, Fitness Distance Correlation and Phenotypic Mutation Rates

    Poli, Riccardo and Galván López, Edgar (2012) The Effects of Constant and Bit-Wise Neutrality on Problem Hardness, Fitness Distance Correlation and Phenotypic Mutation Rates. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 16 (2). pp. 279-300. ISSN 1089-778X

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    Kimura's neutral theory of evolution has inspired researchers from the evolutionary computation community to incorporate neutrality into evolutionary algorithms (EAs) in the hope that it can aid evolution. The effects of neutrality on evolutionary search have been considered in a number of studies, the results of which, however, have been highly contradictory. In this paper, we analyze the reasons for this and make an effort to shed some light on neutrality by addressing them. We consider two very simple forms of neutrality: constant neutrality-a neutral network of constant fitness, identically distributed in the whole search space-and bit-wise neutrality, where each phenotypic bit is obtained by transforming a group of genotypic bits via an encoding function. We study these forms of neutrality both theoretically and empirically (both for standard benchmark functions and a class of random MAX-SAT problems) to see how and why they influence the behavior and performance of a mutation-based EA. In particular, we analyze how the fitness distance correlation of landscapes changes under the effect of different neutral encodings and how phenotypic mutation rates vary as a function of genotypic mutation rates. Both help explain why the behavior of a mutation-based EA may change so radically as problem, form of neutrality, and mutation rate are varied.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Encoding; Correlation; Redundancy; Automata; Bioinformatics; Genomics; Benchmark testing; Fitness distance correlation; genotype-phenotype mappings; MAX-SAT; neutrality; phenotypic mutation rates; problem hardness; correlation theory; genetic algorithms; search problems;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Computer Science
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Hamilton Institute
    Item ID: 12333
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Edgar Galvan
    Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2020 11:55
    Journal or Publication Title: IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation
    Publisher: IEEE
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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