Handbook of Metaheuristics

Volume 146 of the series International Series in Operations Research & Management Science pp 363-397


Iterated Local Search: Framework and Applications

  • Helena R. LourençoAffiliated withUniversitat Pompeu Fabra Email author 
  • , Olivier C. MartinAffiliated withUniversité Paris-Sud
  • , Thomas StützleAffiliated withIRIDIA, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

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The key idea underlying iterated local search is to focus the search not on the full space of all candidate solutions but on the solutions that are returned by some underlying algorithm, typically a local search heuristic. The resulting search behavior can be characterized as iteratively building a chain of solutions of this embedded algorithm. The result is also a conceptually simple metaheuristic that nevertheless has led to state-of-the-art algorithms for many computationally hard problems. In fact, very good performance is often already obtained by rather straightforward implementations of the metaheuristic. In addition, the modular architecture of iterated local search makes it very suitable for an algorithm engineering approach where, progressively, the algorithms’ performance can be further optimized. Our purpose here is to give an accessible description of the underlying principles of iterated local search and a discussion of the main aspects that need to be taken into account for a successful application of it. In addition, we review the most important applications of this method and discuss its relationship to other metaheuristics.