Coarse-Grained Barrier Trees of Fitness Landscapes

  • Sebastian HerrmannEmail author
  • Gabriela Ochoa
  • Franz Rothlauf
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9921)


Recent literature suggests that local optima in fitness landscapes are clustered, which offers an explanation of why perturbation-based metaheuristics often fail to find the global optimum: they become trapped in a sub-optimal cluster. We introduce a method to extract and visualize the global organization of these clusters in form of a barrier tree. Barrier trees have been used to visualize the barriers between local optima basins in fitness landscapes. Our method computes a more coarsely grained tree to reveal the barriers between clusters of local optima. The core element is a new variant of the flooding algorithm, applicable to local optima networks, a compressed representation of fitness landscapes. To identify the clusters, we apply a community detection algorithm. A sample of 200 NK fitness landscapes suggests that the depth of their coarse-grained barrier tree is related to their search difficulty.


Fitness landscape analysis Barrier tree Disconnectivity graph Local optima networks Big valley Search difficulty NK-landscapes 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Herrmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriela Ochoa
    • 2
  • Franz Rothlauf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information Systems and Business AdministrationJohannes Gutenberg-UniversitätMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Computing Science and MathematicsUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland

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