In 2017 there are in total eight weeks of mutual visits between our research group and the Optimisation and Logistics group at the University of Adelaide (four weeks in each direction). The scientific visits are co-funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). In the upcoming two weeks Frank Neumann and Aneta Neumann are visiting us in Potsdam.
This close cooperation has already resulted in several publications this year:
Gao, Wanru; Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Neumann, FrankScaling up Local Search for Minimum Vertex Cover in Large Graphs by Parallel Kernelization. Australasian Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AUSAI) 2017
We investigate how well-performing local search algorithms for small or medium size instances can be scaled up to perform well for large inputs. We introduce a parallel kernelization technique that is motivated by the assumption that graphs in medium to large scale are composed of components which are on their own easy for state-of-the-art solvers but when hidden in large graphs are hard to solve. To show the effectiveness of our kernelization technique, we consider the well-known minimum vertex cover problem and two state-of-the-art solvers called NuMVC and FastVC. Our kernelization approach reduces an existing large problem instance significantly and produces better quality results on a wide range of benchmark instances and real world graphs.
Doerr, Benjamin; Neumann, Frank; Sutton, Andrew M.Time Complexity Analysis of Evolutionary Algorithms on Random Satisfiable k-CNF Formulas. Algorithmica 2017: 561-586
We contribute to the theoretical understanding of randomized search heuristics by investigating their optimization behavior on satisfiable random k-satisfiability instances both in the planted solution model and the uniform model conditional on satisfiability. Denoting the number of variables by n, our main technical result is that the simple (1+1) evolutionary algorithm with high probability finds a satisfying assignment in time \(O(n log n)\) when the clause-variable density is at least logarithmic. For low density instances, evolutionary algorithms seem to be less effective, and all we can show is a subexponential upper bound on the runtime for densities below \(1/(k(k-1))\). We complement these mathematical results with numerical experiments on a broader density spectrum. They indicate that, indeed, the (1+1) EA is less efficient on lower densities. Our experiments also suggest that the implicit constants hidden in our main runtime guarantee are low. Our main result extends and considerably improves the result obtained by Sutton and Neumann (Lect Notes Comput Sci 8672:942-951, 2014) in terms of runtime, minimum density, and clause length. These improvements are made possible by establishing a close fitness-distance correlation in certain parts of the search space. This approach might be of independent interest and could be useful for other average-case analyses of randomized search heuristics. While the notion of a fitness-distance correlation has been around for a long time, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that fitness-distance correlation is explicitly used to rigorously prove a performance statement for an evolutionary algorithm.
Shi, Feng; Schirneck, Martin; Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Neumann, FrankReoptimization Times of Evolutionary Algorithms on Linear Functions Under Dynamic Uniform Constraints. Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2017: 1407-1414
Thee investigations of linear pseudo-Boolean functions play a central role in the area of runtime analysis of evolutionary computing techniques. Having an additional linear constraint on a linear function is equivalent to the NP-hard knapsack problem and special problem classes thereof have been investigated in recent works. In this paper, we extend these studies to problems with dynamic constraints and investigate the runtime of different evolutionary algorithms to recompute an optimal solution when the constraint bound changes by a certain amount. We study the classical \((1+1)\) EA and population-based algorithms and show that they recompute an optimal solution very efficiently. Furthermore, we show that a variant of the \((1+(lambda, \lambda))\) GA can recompute the optimal solution more efficiently in some cases.
Friedrich, Tobias; Neumann, FrankWhat's Hot in Evolutionary Computation. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2017: 5064-5066
We provide a brief overview on some hot topics in the area of evolutionary computation. Our main focus is on recent developments in the areas of combinatorial optimization and real-world applications. Furthermore, we highlight recent progress on the theoretical understanding of evolutionary computing methods.
Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Lagodzinski, J. A. Gregor; Neumann, Frank; Schirneck, MartinAnalysis of the (1+1) EA on Subclasses of Linear Functions under Uniform and Linear Constraints. Foundations of Genetic Algorithms (FOGA) 2017: 45-54
Linear functions have gained a lot of attention in the area of run time analysis of evolutionary computation methods and the corresponding analyses have provided many effective tools for analyzing more complex problems. In this paper, we consider the behavior of the classical (1+1) Evolutionary Algorithm for linear functions under linear constraint. We show tight bounds in the case where both the objective function and the constraint is given by the OneMax function and present upper bounds as well as lower bounds for the general case. Furthermore, we also consider the LeadingOnes fitness function.
Pourhassan, Mojgan; Friedrich, Tobias; Neumann, FrankOn the Use of the Dual Formulation for Minimum Weighted Vertex Cover in Evolutionary Algorithms. Foundations of Genetic Algorithms (FOGA) 2017: 37-44
We consider the weighted minimum vertex cover problem and investigate how its dual formulation can be exploited to design evolutionary algorithms that provably obtain a 2-approximation. Investigating multi-valued representations, we show that variants of randomized local search and the (1+1) EA achieve this goal in expected pseudo-polynomial time. In order to speed up the process, we consider the use of step size adaptation in both algorithms and show that RLS obtains a 2-approximation in expected polynomial time while the (1+1) EA still encounters a pseudo-polynomial lower bound.
Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Wagner, MarkusA Generic Bet-and-Run Strategy for Speeding Up Stochastic Local Search. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2017: 801-807
A common strategy for improving optimization algorithms is to restart the algorithm when it is believed to be trapped in an inferior part of the search space. However, while specific restart strategies have been developed for specific problems (and specific algorithms), restarts are typically not regarded as a general tool to speed up an optimization algorithm. In fact, many optimization algorithms do not employ restarts at all. Recently, "bet-and-run" was introduced in the context of mixed-integer programming, where first a number of short runs with randomized initial conditions is made, and then the most promising run of these is continued. In this article, we consider two classical NP-complete combinatorial optimization problems, traveling salesperson and minimum vertex cover, and study the effectiveness of different bet-and-run strategies. In particular, our restart strategies do not take any problem knowledge into account, nor are tailored to the optimization algorithm. Therefore, they can be used off-the-shelf. We observe that state-of-the-art solvers for these problems can benefit significantly from restarts on standard benchmark instances.
Wagner, Markus; Friedrich, Tobias; Lindauer, MariusImproving local search in a minimum vertex cover solver for classes of networks. Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC) 2017
For the minimum vertex cover problem, a wide range of solvers has been proposed over the years. Most classical exact approaches are encountering run time issues on massive graphs that are considered nowadays. A straightforward alternative approach is then to use heuristics, which make assumptions about the structure of the studied graphs. These assumptions are typically hard-coded and are hoped to work well for a wide range of networks - which is in conflict with the nature of broad benchmark sets. With this article, we contribute in two ways. First, we identify a component in an existing solver that influences its performance depending on the class of graphs, and we then customize instances of this solver for different classes of graphs. Second, we create the first algorithm portfolio for the minimum vertex cover to further improve the performance of a single integrated approach to the minimum vertex cover problem.