Friday, May 06, 2005

 

Blogging memetic algorithms

Thesilog is blogging on memetic algorithms here and here. I'm not actually very fond of the term "memetic algorithms," which are really nothing more than GAs hybridized with some other sort of search. The GA learns in "evolutionary" time, and the other search learns in "cultural" time, and since culture is involved, the learning involves the exchange of "memes," hence the term "memetic" algorithms. All sounds a bit too fancy for a GA/local-search hybrid.

Having said that, I am fond of hybrids for many if not most industrial-strength GA applications. We've worked a bit on the theory of local-global hybrids (see post here and tech report here), and more needs to be done, but in practice hybrids are a good way to get the broad perspective of a GA together with the local convergence speed of a domain-appropriate local searcher.

Comments:
I agree with you on the fact that what is commonly used as Memetic Algorithm is not very different from the hybridization of an evolutionary method and a local search. I think "meme" is misused somehow by interpreting it very specifically. However, I think by interpreting the meme metaphor in other ways, the concept of cultural evolution might be useful. Specially for cases that there are really some forms of society, e.g. multi-agent robotics or manufacturing system.
 
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