Novel Analysis of Population Scalability in Evolutionary Algorithms

by   Jun He, et al.

Population-based evolutionary algorithms (EAs) have been widely applied to solve various optimization problems. The question of how the performance of a population-based EA depends on the population size arises naturally. The performance of an EA may be evaluated by different measures, such as the average convergence rate to the optimal set per generation or the expected number of generations to encounter an optimal solution for the first time. Population scalability is the performance ratio between a benchmark EA and another EA using identical genetic operators but a larger population size. Although intuitively the performance of an EA may improve if its population size increases, currently there exist only a few case studies for simple fitness functions. This paper aims at providing a general study for discrete optimisation. A novel approach is introduced to analyse population scalability using the fundamental matrix. The following two contributions summarize the major results of the current article. (1) We demonstrate rigorously that for elitist EAs with identical global mutation, using a lager population size always increases the average rate of convergence to the optimal set; and yet, sometimes, the expected number of generations needed to find an optimal solution (measured by either the maximal value or the average value) may increase, rather than decrease. (2) We establish sufficient and/or necessary conditions for the superlinear scalability, that is, when the average convergence rate of a (μ+μ) EA (where μ>2) is bigger than μ times that of a (1+1) EA.


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