
Dang, DucCuong; Lehre, Per Kristian; Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Krejca, Martin S.; Oliveto, Pietro S.; Sudholt, Dirk; Sutton, Andrew M. Emergence of Diversity and its Benefits for Crossover in Genetic Algorithms. Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) 2016: 890900
Population diversity is essential for avoiding premature convergence in Genetic Algorithms (GAs) and for the effective use of crossover. Yet the dynamics of how diversity emerges in populations are not well understood. We use rigorous runtime analysis to gain insight into population dynamics and GA performance for a standard \((\mu+1)\) GA and the \(Jump_k\) test function. By studying the stochastic process underlying the size of the largest collection of identical genotypes we show that the interplay of crossover followed by mutation may serve as a catalyst leading to a sudden burst of diversity. This leads to improvements of the expected optimisation time of order \(\Omega(n/ \log n)\) compared to mutationonly algorithms like the \((1+1)\) EA.

Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Sutton, Andrew M. On the Robustness of Evolving Populations. Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) 2016: 771781
Most theoretical work that studies the benefit of recombination focuses on the ability of crossover to speed up optimization time on specific search problems. In this paper, we take a slightly different perspective and investigate recombination in the context of evolving solutions that exhibit \(\emph{mutational}\) robustness, i.e., they display insensitivity to small perturbations. Various models in population genetics have demonstrated that increasing the effective recombination rate promotes the evolution of robustness. We show this result also holds in the context of evolutionary computation by proving crossover promotes the evolution of robust solutions in the standard \((\mu+1)\) GA. Surprisingly, our results show that the effect is present even when robust solutions are at a selective disadvantage due to lower fitness values.

Friedrich, Tobias; Kötzing, Timo; Krejca, Martin S.; Sutton, Andrew M. Graceful Scaling on Uniform versus SteepTailed Noise. Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) 2016: 761770
Recently, different evolutionary algorithms (EAs) have been analyzed in noisy environments. The most frequently used noise model for this was additive posterior noise (noise added after the fitness evaluation) taken from a Gaussian distribution. In particular, for this setting it was shown that the \((\mu + 1)\)EA on OneMax does not scale gracefully (higher noise cannot efficiently be compensated by higher \(\mu\)). In this paper we want to understand whether there is anything special about the Gaussian distribution which makes the \((\mu + 1)\)EA not scale gracefully. We keep the setting of posterior noise, but we look at other distributions. We see that for exponential tails the \((\mu + 1)\)EA on OneMax does also not scale gracefully, for similar reasons as in the case of Gaussian noise. On the other hand, for uniform distributions (as well as other, similar distributions) we see that the \((\mu + 1)\)EA on OneMax does scale gracefully, indicating the importance of the noise model.

Gao, Wanru; Friedrich, Tobias; Neumann, Frank FixedParameter Single Objective Search Heuristics for Minimum Vertex Cover. Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) 2016: 740750
We consider how wellknown branching approaches for the classical minimum vertex cover problem can be turned into randomized initialization strategies with provable performance guarantees and investigate them by experimental investigations. Furthermore, we show how these techniques can be built into local search components and analyze a basic local search variant that is similar to a stateoftheart approach called NuMVC. Our experimental results for the two local search approaches show that making use of more complex branching strategies in the local search component can lead to better results on various benchmark graphs.

Doerr, Benjamin; Doerr, Carola; Kötzing, Timo Provably Optimal SelfAdjusting Step Sizes for MultiValued Decision Variables. Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN) 2016: 782791
We regard the problem of maximizing a OneMaxlike function defined over an alphabet of size \(r\). In previous work [GECCO 2016] we have investigated how three different mutation operators influence the performance of Randomized Local Search (RLS) and the (1+1) Evolutionary Algorithm. This work revealed that among these natural mutation operators none is superior to the other two for any choice of \(r\). We have also given in [GECCO 2016] some indication that the best achievable run time for large \(r\) is \(\Theta(n log r(\log n + \log r))\), regardless of how the mutation operator is chosen, as long as it is a static choice (i.e., the distribution used for variation of the current individual does not change over time). Here in this work we show that we can achieve a better performance if we allow for adaptive mutation operators. More precisely, we analyze the performance of RLS using a selfadjusting mutation strength. In this algorithm the size of the steps taken in each iteration depends on the success of previous iterations. That is, the mutation strength is increased after a successful iteration and it is decreased otherwise. We show that this idea yields an expected optimization time of \(\Theta(n(\log n + \log r))\), which is optimal among all comparisonbased search heuristics. This is the first time that selfadjusting parameter choices are shown to outperform static choices on a discrete multivalued optimization problem.

Bringmann, Karl; Friedrich, Tobias; Klitzke, Patrick Generic Postprocessing via Subset Selection for Hypervolume and EpsilonIndicator. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) 2014: 518527
Most biobjective evolutionary algorithms maintain a population of fixed size \(\mu\) and return the final population at termination. During the optimization process many solutions are considered, but most are discarded. We present two generic postprocessing algorithms which utilize the archive of all nondominated solutions evaluated during the search. We choose the best \(\mu\) solutions from the archive such that the hypervolume or \(\epsilon\)indicator is maximized. This postprocessing costs no additional fitness function evaluations and has negligible runtime compared to most EMOAs. We experimentally examine our postprocessing for four standard algorithms (NSGAII, SPEA2, SMSEMOA, IBEA) on ten standard test functions (DTLZ 12,7, ZDT 13, WFG 36) and measure the average quality improvement. The median decrease of the distance to the optimal \(\epsilon\)indicator is \(95\%\), the median decrease of the distance to the optimal hypervolume value is \(86\%\). We observe similar performance on a realworld problem (wind turbine placement).

Friedrich, Tobias; Neumann, Frank Maximizing Submodular Functions under Matroid Constraints by Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) 2014: 922931
Nominated for Best Paper Award
Many combinatorial optimization problems have underlying goal functions that are submodular. The classical goal is to find a good solution for a given submodular function f under a given set of constraints. In this paper, we investigate the runtime of a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm called GSEMO until it has obtained a good approximation for submodular functions. For the case of monotone submodular functions and uniform cardinality constraints we show that GSEMO achieves a \((1  1/e)\)approximation in expected time \(O(n^2(\log n+k))\), where \(k\) is the value of the given constraint. For the case of nonmonotone submodular functions with \(k\) matroid intersection constraints, we show that GSEMO achieves a \(1/(k + 2 + 1/k + \epsilon)\)approximation in expected time \(O(n^k+5\log(n)/\epsilon)\).

Sutton, Andrew M.; Neumann, Frank Runtime Analysis of Evolutionary Algorithms on Randomly Constructed HighDensity Satisfiable 3CNF Formulas. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) 2014: 942951
We show that simple mutationonly evolutionary algorithms find a satisfying assignment on two similar models of random planted 3CNF Boolean formulas in polynomial time with high probability in the high constraint density regime. We extend the analysis to random formulas conditioned on satisfiability (i.e., the socalled filtered distribution) and conclude that most highdensity satisfiable formulas are easy for simple evolutionary algorithms. With this paper, we contribute the first rigorous study of randomized search heuristics from the evolutionary computation community on wellstudied distributions of random satisfiability problems.

Friedrich, Tobias; Horoba, Christian; Neumann, Frank Runtime Analyses for Using Fairness in Evolutionary MultiObjective Optimization. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) 2008: 671680
It is widely assumed that evolutionary algorithms for multiobjective optimization problems should use certain mechanisms to achieve a good spread over the Pareto front. In this paper, we examine such mechanisms from a theoretical point of view and analyze simple algorithms incorporating the concept of fairness introduced by Laumanns et al. This mechanism tries to balance the number of offspring of all individuals in the current population. We rigorously analyze the runtime behavior of different fairness mechanisms and present showcase examples to point out situations where the right mechanism can speed up the optimization process significantly.

Lunacek, Monte; Whitley, Darrell; Sutton, Andrew M. The Impact of Global Structure on Search. Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) 2008: 498507
Populationbased methods are often considered superior on multimodal functions because they tend to explore more of the fitness landscape before they converge. We show that the effectiveness of this strategy is highly dependent on a function's global structure. When the local optima are not structured in a predictable way, exploration can misguide search into suboptimal regions. Limiting exploration can result in a better nonintuitive global search strategy.