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You are on page 1of 13

January 2008

C. Colson

Ants in Mythology

Zeus turned the hardworking ants of the uninhabited island of

Aegina into the subjects of Aeacus. The people were called the

Myrmidons.

Although Achilles was from Thessaly, he leads his distant kinsmen,

the Myrmidons in the Trojan War as told by Homer in the Iliad.

Of the Myrmidons: Industry, thrift, endurance; they are eager for

gain, and never easily relinquish, what they have won!"

Metaheuristic?

Refers to a master strategy that modifies sub-heuristics.

A general purpose heuristic designed to guide an underlying

problem-specific heuristic towards promising solutions.

polynomial time (tractable and intractable problems).

As a result, heuristic methods are applied to get nearoptimal results in a reasonable time.

Metaheuristics have entered the picture to guide

heuristic methods applicable to widely varying

problems.

ACO is a metaheuristic framework:

applicable to many different applications.

Combinational Optimization

Involve finding values for discrete variables such that an optimal solution

with respect to a given objective function is found.

Traveling salesman

Supply-chain logistics planning

Asset allocation

Problem: general question to be answered

Instance: a case of specified values for a problem

f(s): objective function (s S)

: constraints

Feasible solutions: subset of S, that satisfies

Globally optimal solution: s*

Maximization example: f(s*) f(s) for all {s }

Computational Complexity

Straight-forward approach to solution: exhaustive search!

The possible solutions grows exponentially with instance size (n).

solution to an instance of n-size (aka worst-time complexity).

Big-O formal notation: (function)

A function g(n) is said to be ( h(n) ), if two positive constants A

and n0 exist such that g(n) Ah(n) for all nn0 . This is the

asymptotic upper bound.

Polynomial time complex: if ( g(n) ) where g(n) is a

polynomial. If k is the largest exponent of the polynomial g(n),

then the problem is said to be solvable in ( nk ) time.

Exponential time complex: if ( g(n) ) cannot be bounded by a

polynomial.

Intractable = not polynomial time complex.

NP-Completeness

or no) in poly-time.

NP-class (stands for Non-deterministic Polynomial): an

algorithm that verifies every instance is indeed yes in polytime.

NP Problems

P is a subset of NP

P = NPP Problems

NP-hard???

complete ???

NP-complete

Problems

another one by a poly-time algorithm.

Key point: if the resultant problem is solvable in poly-time,

then the original problem is likewise solvable in poly-time!

Exact :

guaranteed to find optimal solution

prove optimality for every (finite-size) instance

runs within instance-dependent time (worst case scenario: exponentialtime)

methods; seeks near-optimal solutions but cannot guarantee

optimality.

Further classified into constructive and local searches

Constructive (iteratively add solution components to the empty solution

set until solution set is found): incremental solutions without

backtracking (see NNH for TSP problem on pg. 30)

Local search (starts from a full solution set and tries to make

improvements by local changes): iterative exploration that seeks to

improve the solution with local changes (see best-improvement rule for

neighborhood examination scheme on pg. 31)

Neighborhood structure: the set of possible solutions that the algorithm

can move to from the current solution.

A colony of artificial ants cooperate to find good

solutions to difficult discrete optimization problems.

Good solutions are an emergent property of

cooperation!

Static problems: all characteristics of the problem

are defined once and do not change.

Dynamic problems: characteristics vary according to

underlying functions and the optimization must

adapt to the changing environment.

See problem definition on pgs. 34 & 35.

ACO (continued)

Ants build solutions by performing stochasic action

on the construction graph which is made up of

components (nodes) and connections (paths).

Sometimes the ants find feasible solutions,

sometimes not (and thats ok).

The pheromone trail is coded long-term memory.

Heuristic information: additional information that

the ants have, a priori, from a source other than

the environment (example: estimated path cost)

Although ants act concurrently, independently, and

most times dumbly, goodquality solutions arise

from collective interaction of the ants.

ACO Components

ConstructAntsSolutions:

stochastic engine resides here

evaluation function for ant performance resides here

UpdatePheromones:

deposits or evaporates pheromone trails.

DaemonActions:

optional functionality

example: pheromone bonuses for shortest path yet

ACO Applications

Hamiltonian circuit: a trip solution on an undirected graph

which visits each city (node) exactly once and returns to

the starting city.

Symmetric TSP:

shortest Hamiltonian circuit trip length

cost from node i to j is identical to j to i.

cost from node i to j is not identical to j to i.

constraints

doesnt need to return to starting city

a precedence constraint must be considered

the precedence constraint requires that some node i has to be

visited before some other node j

Note: pheromones play roughly the same role in these cases.

Generalized Assignment Problem:

any agent can be assigned to perform any task, but incurs some

cost/profit that varies with the assignment

each agent has a budget and the sum of the costs of task assigned

(cannot exceed its budget).

solution is an assignment in which all agents do not exceed their

budget

good solution minimizes cost or maximizes profit

pheromones associated with either the next task to choose or which

agent to assign the task to.

goal is to maximize valuable items that can fit into one bag to be

carried on a trip

given a set of items, each with a cost and a value, determine the

number of each item to include in a collection so that the total cost is

less than a given limit and the total value is as large as possible

pheromones are associated only with the desirability of adding a

particular item to a solution

Network Routing Problem:

minimum path costs between pairs of nodes in

the network

each connection (path) should have multiple

pheromone trails associated for each different

node destination.

Dynamic TSP:

time is a factor

cities can be added or removed from the graph

pheromones act similarly to standard TSP

problem.

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