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Fourier Analysis Meets Runtime Analysis: Precise Runtimes on Plateaus

by   Benjamin Doerr, et al.

We propose a new method based on discrete Fourier analysis to analyze the time evolutionary algorithms spend on plateaus. This immediately gives a concise proof of the classic estimate of the expected runtime of the (1+1) evolutionary algorithm on the Needle problem due to Garnier, Kallel, and Schoenauer (1999). We also use this method to analyze the runtime of the (1+1) evolutionary algorithm on a new benchmark consisting of n/ℓ plateaus of effective size 2^ℓ-1 which have to be optimized sequentially in a LeadingOnes fashion. Using our new method, we determine the precise expected runtime both for static and fitness-dependent mutation rates. We also determine the asymptotically optimal static and fitness-dependent mutation rates. For ℓ = o(n), the optimal static mutation rate is approximately 1.59/n. The optimal fitness dependent mutation rate, when the first k fitness-relevant bits have been found, is asymptotically 1/(k+1). These results, so far only proven for the single-instance problem LeadingOnes, are thus true in a much broader respect. We expect similar extensions to be true for other important results on LeadingOnes. We are also optimistic that our Fourier analysis approach can be applied to other plateau problems as well.


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