Swarm Intelligence

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 23–48 | Cite as

A critical analysis of parameter adaptation in ant colony optimization

  • Paola Pellegrini
  • Thomas Stützle
  • Mauro Birattari


Applying parameter adaptation means operating on parameters of an algorithm while it is tackling an instance. For ant colony optimization, several parameter adaptation methods have been proposed. In the literature, these methods have been shown to improve the quality of the results achieved in some particular contexts. In particular, they proved to be successful when applied to novel ant colony optimization algorithms for tackling problems that are not a classical testbed for optimization algorithms. In this paper, we show that the adaptation methods proposed so far do not improve, and often even worsen the performance when applied to high performing ant colony optimization algorithms for some classical combinatorial optimization problems.


Ant colony optimization Parameter adaptation Traveling salesman problem Quadratic assignment problem 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Pellegrini
    • 1
  • Thomas Stützle
    • 1
  • Mauro Birattari
    • 1
  1. 1.IRIDIA, CoDEUniversité Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium

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