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Analysis of Noisy Evolutionary Optimization When Sampling Fails

by   Chao Qian, et al.
Nanjing University
Southern University of Science & Technology

In noisy evolutionary optimization, sampling is a common strategy to deal with noise. By the sampling strategy, the fitness of a solution is evaluated multiple times (called sample size) independently, and its true fitness is then approximated by the average of these evaluations. Previous studies on sampling are mainly empirical. In this paper, we first investigate the effect of sample size from a theoretical perspective. By analyzing the (1+1)-EA on the noisy LeadingOnes problem, we show that as the sample size increases, the running time can reduce from exponential to polynomial, but then return to exponential. This suggests that a proper sample size is crucial in practice. Then, we investigate what strategies can work when sampling with any fixed sample size fails. By two illustrative examples, we prove that using parent or offspring populations can be better. Finally, we construct an artificial noisy example to show that when using neither sampling nor populations is effective, adaptive sampling (i.e., sampling with an adaptive sample size) can work. This, for the first time, provides a theoretical support for the use of adaptive sampling.


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