, Volume 38, Issue 1-2, pp 9-40

LEARNABLE EVOLUTION MODEL: Evolutionary Processes Guided by Machine Learning


A new class of evolutionary computation processes is presented, called Learnable Evolution Model or LEM. In contrast to Darwinian-type evolution that relies on mutation, recombination, and selection operators, LEM employs machine learning to generate new populations. Specifically, in Machine Learning mode, a learning system seeks reasons why certain individuals in a population (or a collection of past populations) are superior to others in performing a designated class of tasks. These reasons, expressed as inductive hypotheses, are used to generate new populations. A remarkable property of LEM is that it is capable of quantum leaps (“insight jumps”) of the fitness function, unlike Darwinian-type evolution that typically proceeds through numerous slight improvements. In our early experimental studies, LEM significantly outperformed evolutionary computation methods used in the experiments, sometimes achieving speed-ups of two or more orders of magnitude in terms of the number of evolutionary steps. LEM has a potential for a wide range of applications, in particular, in such domains as complex optimization or search problems, engineering design, drug design, evolvable hardware, software engineering, economics, data mining, and automatic programming.