Soft Computing

, Volume 21, Issue 22, pp 6841–6858 | Cite as

Prior knowledge guided differential evolution

  • Qinqin Fan
  • Xuefeng Yan
  • Yu Xue
Methodologies and Application


Differential evolution (DE) has become one of the most popular paradigms of evolutionary algorithms. Over the past two decades, some prior knowledge has been obtained in the DE research community. It is an interesting topic to enhance the performance of DE by taking advantage of such prior knowledge. Along this line, a prior knowledge guided DE (called PKDE) is proposed in this paper. In PKDE, we extract two levels of prior knowledge, i.e., the macro- and micro-levels. In order to integrate these two levels of prior knowledge in an effective way, the control parameters of PKDE are tuned based on two distributions (i.e., Cauchy and normal distribution), with the aim of alleviating the premature convergence at the early stage and speeding up the convergence toward the global optimal solution at the later stage. In addition, the self-adaptive mutation strategy is implemented based on our previous study. PKDE is compared with eight DE variants and seven non-DE algorithms on two sets of benchmark test functions from IEEE CEC2005 and IEEE CEC2014. Systematic experiments demonstrate that the overall performance of PKDE is very competitive.


Differential evolution Prior knowledge Control parameter adaptation Mutation operator adaptation 



This paper was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 21176073 and Grant 61273314. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank Dr. Zhang, Dr. Brest, and Dr. Suganthan for providing the source codes of JADE, jDE, and SaDE, respectively, and Dr. Yong Wang, who is an associate professor of Central South University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest in publishing this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Logistics Research CenterShanghai Maritime UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Advanced Control and Optimization for Chemical Process of Ministry of EducationEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Computer and SoftwareNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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