Improving Metaheuristic Performance by Evolving a Variable Fitness Function

  • Keshav Dahal
  • Stephen Remde
  • Peter Cowling
  • Nic Colledge
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4972)


In this paper we study a complex real world workforce scheduling problem. We apply constructive search and variable neighbourhood search (VNS) metaheuristics and enhance these methods by using a variable fitness function. The variable fitness function (VFF) uses an evolutionary approach to evolve weights for each of the (multiple) objectives. The variable fitness function can potentially enhance any search based optimisation heuristic where multiple objectives can be defined through evolutionary changes in the search direction. We show that the VFF significantly improves performance of constructive and VNS approaches on training problems, and “learn” problem features which enhance the performance on unseen test problem instances.


Variable Fitness Function Evolution Heuristic Meta-heuristic 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keshav Dahal
    • 1
  • Stephen Remde
    • 1
  • Peter Cowling
    • 1
  • Nic Colledge
    • 1
  1. 1.MOSAIC Research GroupUniversity of BradfordBradfordUnited Kingdom

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