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Ant Colony Optimization

Quadratic Assignment Problem

Hernan AGUIRRE, Adel BEN HAJ YEDDER, Andre DIAS and Pascalis RAPTIS

Problem Leader: Marco Dorigo Team Leader: Marc Schoenauer

Quadratic Assignment Problem

Assign n facilities to n locations
Distances between locations Flows between facilities


Minimize sum flow x distance

TSP is a particular case of QAP

Models many real world problems

NP-hard problem

QAP Example
Locations Facilities biggest flow: A - B

How to assign facilities to locations ?

Higher cost

Lower cost

Ant Colony Optimization (ACO)

Ant Algorithms
Inspired by observation of real ants

Ant Colony Optimization (ACO)

Inspiration from ant colonies foraging behavior (actions of the colony finding food)

Colony of cooperating individuals Pheromone trail for stigmergic communication Sequence of moves to find shortest paths Stochastic decision using local information

Ant Colony Optimization for QAP

Pheromone laying Basic ACO algorithm Local Search 1st best improvement facilities-location assignment

Ant Colony Optimization for QAP

Basic ACO algorithm Actions


Choosing a Facility
Choosing a Location Pheromone Update

P(pheromone , heuristic) (solution quality)

Ant Colony Optimization for QAP

How important search guidance is?

Test problems
Type of problem Size random 12

random 50

Real-life 30

12 facilities/positions should be easy to solve!

What behavior with real life problems?

QAP solved to optimality up to 30
Parameters for ACO: 500 ants, evaporation =0.9

Results: tai12a
Without local search convergence to local minimum
NOT ALWAYS the optimum Heuristic gets better minimun With local search: always converges to optimum Very quickly

Results: Real Life - Kra30a

No Heuristic Converges local minimum 72 % optimum Converges local minimum 70% optimum

With LS
Optimum Avg.12 iterations Optimum Avg.10 iterations

With heuristic

Future Work
Different strategies
Choosing a Facility Choosing a Location Pheromone Update

Remain fixed, all ants use the same! Performance of strategies varies

Stage of the search


Let the ants find it!


Great Summer School!

The ants did find their way to the Beach Pool Beer

Ants Path
Locations Facilities biggest flow: A - B

(1,A) |

(1,C) |

| (3,C) Higher cost Lower cost

| (3,A)