Toward Automating EA Configuration: The Parent Selection Stage

Ekaterina Smorodkina
Daniel R. Tauritz, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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One of the obstacles to Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) fulfilling their promise as easy to use general-purpose problem solvers, is the difficulty of correctly configuring them for specific problems such as to obtain satisfactory performance. Having a mechanism for automatically configuring parameters and operators of every stage of the evolutionary life-cycle would give EAs a more widely spread popularity in the non-expert community. This paper investigates automatic configuration of one of the stages of the evolutionary life-cycle, the parent selection, via a new concept of semi-autonomous parent selection, where mate selection operators are encoded and evolved as in Genetic Programming. We compare the performance of the EA with semi-autonomous parent selection to that of a manually configured EA on three common test problems to determine the “price” we pay for user-friendliness.