Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 307–337

Semantic analysis of program initialisation in genetic programming

Original Paper


Population initialisation in genetic programming is both easy, because random combinations of syntax can be generated straightforwardly, and hard, because these random combinations of syntax do not always produce random and diverse program behaviours. In this paper we perform analyses of behavioural diversity, the size and shape of starting populations, the effects of purely semantic program initialisation and the importance of tree shape in the context of program initialisation. To achieve this, we create four different algorithms, in addition to using the traditional ramped half and half technique, applied to seven genetic programming problems. We present results to show that varying the choice and design of program initialisation can dramatically influence the performance of genetic programming. In particular, program behaviour and evolvable tree shape can have dramatic effects on the performance of genetic programming. The four algorithms we present have different rates of success on different problems.


Genetic programming Program initialisation Program semantics Program structure 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computing LaboratoryUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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