45-genetic-algorithms | Genetic Algorithm | Offspring

Genetic Algorithms

24-Feb-11

Evolution  

Here¶s a very oversimplified description of how evolution works in biology Organisms (animals or plants) produce a number of offspring which are almost, but not entirely, like themselves 


Variation may be due to mutation (random changes) Variation may be due to sexual reproduction (offspring have some characteristics from each parent) 

Some of these offspring may survive to produce offspring of their own²some won¶t 


The ³better adapted´ offspring are more likely to survive Over time, later generations become better and better adapted 

Genetic algorithms use this same process to ³evolve´ better programs
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³genes´ may describe a possible solution to a problem. without actually being the solution 3 .Genotypes and phenotypes    Genes are the basic ³instructions´ for building an organism A chromosome is a sequence of genes Biologists distinguish between an organism¶s genotype (the genes and chromosomes) and its phenotype (what the organism actually is like)  Example: You might have genes to be tall. but never grow to be tall for other reasons (such as poor diet)  Similarly.

The basic genetic algorithm    Start with a large ´populationµ of randomly generated ´attempted solutionsµ to a problem Repeatedly do the following:  Evaluate each of the attempted solutions  Keep a subset of these solutions (the ´bestµ ones)  Use these solutions to generate a new population Quit when you have a satisfactory solution (or you run out of time) 4 .

generate 9 new words as follows:  Pick a random bit in the word and toggle (change) it  Note that this procedure does not guarantee that the next ³generation´ will have more 1 bits.A really simple example    Suppose your ³organisms´ are 32-bit computer words You want a string in which all the bits are ones Here¶s how you can do it:   Create 100 randomly generated computer words Repeatedly do the following:  Count the 1 bits in each word  Exit if any of the words have all 32 bits set to 1  Keep the ten words that have the most 1s (discard the rest)  From each word. but it¶s likely 5 .

part I  Suppose you have a large number of (x. (3.6).5)..2. 4.0.1. (-5. you want a formula y = ax5 + bx4 + cx3 + dx2 +ex + f that gives you a reasonably good fit to the actual data Here¶s the usual way to compute goodness of fit:   Compute the sum of (actual y ² predicted y)2 for all the data points The lowest sum represents the best fit   There are some standard curve fitting techniques.A more realistic example. y) data points  For example. .1). 9.  You would like to fit a polynomial (of up to degree 5) through these data points   That is. (1. 8.. but let¶s assume you don¶t know about them You can use a genetic algorithm to find a ³pretty good´ solution 6 .

b. the ³badness´ of [0. b. c. 2. e. d. and f Your ³chromosome´ is the array [a. 0. d. 5] and the data points (1. 0. y). 22):     . (I¶m using red to mean ³actual data´)    Compute ý = ax5 + bx4 + cx3 + dx2 +ex + f Find the sum of (y ² ý)2 over all x The sum is your measure of ³badness´ (larger numbers are worse) ý = 0x5 + 0x4 + 0x3 + 2x2 +3x + 5 is 2 + 3 + 5 = 10 when x is 1 ý = 0x5 + 0x4 + 0x3 + 2x2 +3x + 5 is 8 + 6 + 5 = 19 when x is 2 (12 ² 10)2 + (22 ² 19)2 = 22 + 32 = 13 If these are the only two data points. f] Your evaluation function for one array is:  For every actual data point (x. 12) and (2. part II     Your formula is y = ax5 + bx4 + cx3 + dx2 +ex + f Your ³genes´ are a. 3. 2. e. c. 0. 0. 5] is 13 7  Example: For [0.A more realistic example. 3.

0  Multiply the random element of the array by the random floating-point number After all 500 trials.A more realistic example. part III  Your algorithm might be as follows:    Create 100 six-element arrays of random numbers Repeat 500 times (or any other number):  For each of the 100 arrays. compute its badness (using all data points)  Keep the ten best arrays (discard the other 90)  From each array you keep.0 and 2. generate nine new arrays as follows:  Pick a random element of the six  Pick a random floating-point number between 0. pick the best array as your final answer 8 .

sexual reproduction  In the examples so far.   9 .Asexual vs. new offspring are produced by forming a new chromosome from parts of the chromosomes of each parent  In sexual reproduction.    Each ³organism´ (or ³solution´) had only one parent Reproduction was asexual (without sex) The only way to introduce variation was through mutation (random changes) Each ³organism´ (or ³solution´) has two parents Assuming that each organism has just one chromosome.

and you want a string in which all the bits are ones Here¶s how you can do it:   Create 100 randomly generated computer words Repeatedly do the following:  Count the 1 bits in each word  Exit if any of the words have all 32 bits set to 1  Keep the ten words that have the most 1s (discard the rest)  From each word. generate 9 new words as follows:  Choose one of the other words  Take the first half of this word and combine it with the second half of the other word 10 .The really simple example again   Suppose your ³organisms´ are 32-bit computer words.

half from the other: 0110 1001 0100 1110 1010 1101 1011 0101 1101 0100 0101 1010 1011 0100 1010 0101 0110 1001 0100 1110 1011 0100 1010 0101 Or we might choose ³genes´ (bits) randomly: 0110 1001 0100 1110 1010 1101 1011 0101 1101 0100 0101 1010 1011 0100 1010 0101 0100 0101 0100 1010 1010 1100 1011 0101 Or we might consider a ³gene´ to be a larger unit: 0110 1001 0100 1110 1010 1101 1011 0101 1101 0100 0101 1010 1011 0100 1010 0101 1101 1001 0101 1010 1010 1101 1010 0101 11   .The example continued  Half from one.

if it succeeds. with no mutation. but none of them were selected for the second generation  However. no mutation) approach.Comparison of simple examples  In the simple example (trying to get all 1s):  The sexual (two-parent. is likely to succeed much faster  Because up to half of the bits change each time. it may not succeed at all    The best technique in general turns out to be sexual reproduction with a small probability of mutation 12 . not just one bit By pure bad luck. maybe none of the first (randomly generated) words have (say) bit 17 set to 1  Then there is no way a 1 could ever occur in this position Another problem is lack of genetic diversity  Maybe some of the first generation did have bit 17 set to 1.

d. c. (d+d)/2. c. c. b. (c+c)/2. f] You could choose genes randomly: [a. (e+e)/2. c.Curve fitting with sexual reproduction     Your formula is y = ax5 + bx4 + cx3 + dx2 +ex + f Your ³genes´ are a. b. e.(f+f)/2]  I suspect this last may be the best. f] What¶s the best way to combine two chromosomes into one?    You could choose the first half of one and the second half of the other: [a. b. (b+b)/2. though I don¶t know of a good biological analogy for it 13 . d. e. b. d. and f Your ³chromosome´ is the array [a. d. e. f] You could compute ³gene averages:´ [(a+a)/2. e.

in the previous examples. not as a set of rules to be slavishly followed  For trying to get a word of all 1s. there is an obvious measure of a ³good´ gene   But that¶s mostly because it¶s a silly example It¶s much harder to detect a ³good gene´ in the curve-fitting problem. we formed the child organisms randomly   We did not try to choose the ³best´ genes from each parent This is how natural (biological) evolution works  Biological evolution is not directed²there is no ³goal´  Genetic algorithms use biology as inspiration. harder still in almost any ³real use´ of a genetic algorithm 14 .Directed evolution  Notice that.

an organism that is twice as ³good´ as another is likely to have twice as many offspring The best organisms will contribute the most to the next generation Since every organism has some chance of being a parent. we chose the N ³best´ organisms as parents for the next generation A more common approach is to choose parents randomly.Probabilistic matching   In previous examples. based on their measure of goodness  Thus. there is somewhat less loss of genetic diversity  This has a couple of advantages:   15 .

you might try to evolve one As a concrete example. going back many years What data has the most predictive value? What¶s the best way to combine this data?  A genetic program is possible in theory. suppose you want a program to help you choose stocks in the stock market    There is a huge amount of data. but it might take millions of years to evolve into something useful  How can we improve this? 16 .Genetic programming    A string of bits could represent a program If you want a program to do something.

can be represented as trees   Internal nodes are operators: +.. while.Shrinking the search space  There are just too many possible bit patterns!  99.. . . 17 . *.71818. as you should know by now. "AAPL"..9999% of these don¶t even represent valid programs  An incredible improvement would result if we could somehow restrict the search space to only valid (even if nonsensical) programs  We can do this!  Programs. Leaves are values: 2.. if.

Programs as trees     Given a program represented as a tree. or by adding or removing nodes Given two trees. we can mutate it by changing one of its operators (or one of its values). we can form a new tree by taking parts of its two parents The next big problem: How do we evaluate program trees that are (initially) nothing at all like what we want? I realize this is all very vague²I just wanted to give you the general idea 18 .

Concluding remarks  Genetic algorithms are²  Fun! They are enjoyable to program and to work with  This is probably why they are a subject of active research   Mind-bogglingly slow²you don¶t want to use them if you have any alternatives Good for a very few types of problems  Genetic algorithms can sometimes come up with a solution when you can see no other way of tackling the problem 19 .

The End 20 .

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