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Evolutionary Computation

Fall 1997, Vol. 5, No. 3, Pages 277-302
(doi: 10.1162/evco.1997.5.3.277)
© 1997 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Implicit Representation in Genetic Algorithms Using Redundancy
Article PDF (1.59 MB)
Abstract

A new representation combining redundancy and implicit fitness constraints is introduced that performs better than a simple genetic algorithm (GA) and a structured GA in experiments. The implicit redundant representation (IRR) consists of a string that is over-specified, allowing for sections of the string to remain inactive during function evaluation. The representation does not require the user to prespecify the number of parameters to evaluate or the location of these parameters within the string. This information is obtained implicitly by the fitness function during the GA operations. The good performance of the IRR can be attributed to several factors: less disruption of existing fit members due to the increased probability of crossovers and mutation affecting only redundant material; discovery of fit members through the conversion of redundant material into essential information; and the ability to enlarge or reduce the search space dynamically by varying the number of variables evaluated by the fitness function. The IRR GA provides a more biologically parallel representation that maintains a diverse population throughout the evolution process. In addition, the IRR provides the necessary flexibility to represent unstructured problem domains that do not have the explicit constraints required by fixed representations.