An Evolutionary Approach
In the previous three chapters we discussed various classic problem-solving methods, including dynamic programming, branch and bound, and local search algorithms, as well as some modern heuristic methods like simulated annealing and tabu search. Some of these techniques were seen to be deterministic. Essentially you “turn the crank” and out pops the answer. For these methods, given a search space and an evaluation function, some would always return the same solution (e.g., dynamic programming), while others could generate different solutions based on the initial configuration or starting point (e.g., a greedy algorithm or the hill-climbing technique). Still other methods were probabilistic, incorporating random variation into the search for optimal solutions. These methods (e.g., simulated annealing) could return different final solutions even when given the same initial configuration. No two trials with these algorithms could be expected to take exactly the same course. Each trial is much like a person’s fingerprint: although there are broad similarities across fingerprints, no two are exactly alike.
KeywordsEvaluation Function Simulated Annealing Evolutionary Algorithm Tabu Search Variation Operator
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