, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 291-311
Date: 14 Nov 2012

A new hyper-heuristic as a general problem solver: an implementation in HyFlex

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Abstract

This study provides a new hyper-heuristic design using a learning-based heuristic selection mechanism together with an adaptive move acceptance criterion. The selection process was supported by an online heuristic subset selection strategy. In addition, a pairwise heuristic hybridization method was designed. The motivation behind building an intelligent selection hyper-heuristic using these adaptive hyper-heuristic sub-mechanisms is to facilitate generality. Therefore, the designed hyper-heuristic was tested on a number of problem domains defined in a high-level framework, i.e., HyFlex. The framework provides a set of problems with a number of instances as well as a group of low-level heuristics. Thus, it can be considered a good environment to measure the generality level of selection hyper-heuristics. The computational results demonstrated the generic performance of the proposed strategy in comparison with other tested hyper-heuristics composed of the sub-mechanisms from the literature. Moreover, the performance and behavior analysis conducted for the hyper-heuristic clearly showed its adaptive characteristics under different search conditions. The principles comprising the here presented algorithm were at the heart of the algorithm that won the first international cross-domain heuristic search competition.