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The Effect of Mutation on the Accumulation of Information in a Genetic Algorithm

  • John Milton
  • Paul Kennedy
  • Heather Mitchell
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3809)

Abstract

We use an information theory approach to investigate the role of mutation on Genetic Algorithms (GA). The concept of solution alleles representing information in the GA and the associated concept of information density, being the average frequency of solution alleles in the population, are introduced. Using these concepts, we show that mutation applied indiscriminately across the population has, on average, a detrimental effect on the accumulation of solution alleles within the population and hence the construction of the solution. Mutation is shown to reliably promote the accumulation of solution alleles only when it is targeted at individuals with a lower information density than the mutation source. When individuals with a lower information density than the mutation source are targeted for mutation, very high rates of mutation can be used. This significantly increases the diversity of alleles present in the population, while also increasing the average occurrence of solution alleles.

Keywords

Evolutionary computing genetic algorithm mutation information theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Milton
    • 1
  • Paul Kennedy
    • 1
  • Heather Mitchell
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Information TechnologyUniversity of Technology Sydney, Australia UTSBroadway, SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Economics, Finance and MarketingRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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