Genetic Algorithms on NK-Landscapes: Effects of Selection, Drift, Mutation, and Recombination

  • Hernán E. Aguirre
  • Kiyoshi Tanaka
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2611)


Empirical studies have shown that the overall performance of random bit climbers on NK-Landscapes is superior to the performance of some simple and enhanced GAs. Analytical studies have also lead to suggest that NK-Landscapes may not be appropriate for testing the performance of GAs. In this work we study the effect of selection, drift, mutation, and recombination on NK-Landscapes for N = 96. We take a model of generational parallel varying mutation GA (GASRM) and switch on and off its major components to emphasize each of the four processes mentioned above. We observe that using an appropriate selection pressure and postponing drift make GAs quite robust on NK-Landscapes; different to previous studies, even simple GAs with these two features perform better than a random bit climber (RBC+) for a broad range of classes of problems (K ≥ 4). We also observe that the interaction of parallel varying mutation with crossover improves further the reliability of the GA, especially for 12 < K < 32. Contrary to intuition, we find that for small K a mutation only EA is very effective and crossover may be omitted; but the relative importance of crossover interacting with varying mutation increases with K performing better than mutation alone (K >12).We conclude that NK-Landscapes are useful for testing the GA’s overall behavior and performance and also for testing each one of the major processes involved in a GA.


Genetic Algorithm Selection Pressure Local Search Algorithm Mutation Strategy High Optimum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hernán E. Aguirre
    • 1
  • Kiyoshi Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringShinshu UniversityNaganoJapan

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