A Comparative Study of Different Grammar-Based Genetic Programming Approaches

  • Nuno Lourenço
  • Joaquim Ferrer
  • Francisco B. Pereira
  • Ernesto Costa
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10196)


Grammars are useful formalisms to specify constraints, and not surprisingly, they have attracted the attention of Evolutionary Computation (EC) researchers to enforce problem restrictions. Context-Free-Grammar GP (CFG-GP) established the foundations for the application of grammars in Genetic Programming (GP), whilst Grammatical Evolution (GE) popularised the use of these approaches, becoming one of the most used GP variants. However, studies have shown that GE suffers from issues that have impact on its performance. To minimise these issues, several extensions have been proposed, which made the distinction between GE and CFG-GP less noticeable. Another direction was followed by Structured Grammatical Evolution (SGE) that maintains the separation between genotype and phenotype from GE, but overcomes most of its issues. Our goal is to perform a comparative study between CFG-GP, GE and SGE to examine their relative performance. The results show that in most of the selected benchmarks, CFG-GP and SGE have a similar performance, showing that SGE is a good alternative to GE.


Genetic programming Grammar-based genetic programming Grammatical evolution 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nuno Lourenço
    • 1
  • Joaquim Ferrer
    • 1
  • Francisco B. Pereira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ernesto Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.CISUC, Department of Informatics EngineeringUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Superior de Engenharia de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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