Adaptive techniques for enhancing the robustness and performance of speciated PSOs in multimodal environments

Bird, S 2008, Adaptive techniques for enhancing the robustness and performance of speciated PSOs in multimodal environments, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Computer Science and Information Technology, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Adaptive techniques for enhancing the robustness and performance of speciated PSOs in multimodal environments
Author(s) Bird, S
Year 2008
Abstract This thesis proposes several new techniques to improve the performance of speciated particle swarms in multimodal environments. We investigate how these algorithms can become more robust and adaptive, easier to use and able to solve a wider variety of optimisation problems. We then develop a technique that uses regression to vastly improve an algorithm's convergence speed without requiring extra evaluations.

Speciation techniques play an important role in particle swarms. They allow an algorithm to locate multiple optima, providing the user with a choice of solutions. Speciation also provides diversity preservation, which can be critical for dynamic optimisation. By increasing diversity and tracking multiple peaks simultaneously, speciated algorithms are better able to handle the changes inherent in dynamic environments.

Speciation algorithms often require a user to specify a parameter that controls how species form. This is a major drawback since the knowledge may not be available a priori. If the parameter is incorrectly set, the algorithm's performance is likely to be highly degraded. We propose using a time-based measure to control the speciation, allowing the algorithm to define species far more adaptively, using the population's characteristics and behaviour to control membership.

Two new techniques presented in this thesis, ANPSO and ESPSO, use time-based convergence measures to define species. These methods are shown to be robust while still providing highly competitive performance. Both algorithms effectively optimised all of our test functions without requiring any tuning.

Speciated algorithms are ideally suited to optimising dynamic environments, however the complexity of these environments makes them far more difficult to design algorithms for. To increase an algorithm's performance it is necessary to determine in what ways it should be improved. While all performance metrics allow optimisation techniques to be compared, they cannot show how to improve an algorithm. Until now this has been done largely by trial and error. This is extremely inefficient, in the same way it is inefficient trying to improve a program's speed without profiling it first.

This thesis proposes a new metric that exclusively measures convergence speed. We show that an algorithm can be profiled by correlating the performance as measured by multiple metrics. By combining these two techniques, we can obtain far better insight into how best to improve an algorithm. Using this information, we then propose a local convergence enhancement that greatly increases performance by actively estimating the location of an optimum.

The enhancement uses regression to fit a surface to the peak, guiding the search by estimating the peak's true location. By incorporating this technique, the algorithm is able to use the information contained within the fitness landscape far more effectively. We show that by combining the regression with an existing speciated algorithm, we are able to vastly improve the algorithm's performance. This technique will greatly enhance the utility of PSO on problems where fitness evaluations are expensive, or that require fast reaction to change.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Computer Science and Information Technology
Keyword(s) Computer algorithms
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