Evolutionary Optimisation of Fully Connected Artificial Neural Network Topology

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 997)


This paper proposes an approach to selecting the amount of layers and neurons contained within Multilayer Perceptron hidden layers through a single-objective evolutionary approach with the goal of model accuracy. At each generation, a population of Neural Network architectures are created and ranked by their accuracy. The generated solutions are combined in a breeding process to create a larger population, and at each generation the weakest solutions are removed to retain the population size inspired by a Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’. Multiple datasets are tested, and results show that architectures can be successfully improved and derived through a hyper-heuristic evolutionary approach, in less than 10% of the exhaustive search time. The evolutionary approach was further optimised through population density increase as well as gradual solution max complexity increase throughout the simulation.


Neural networks Evolutionary computation Neuroevolution Hyperheuristics Computational intelligence 



This work was supported by the European Commission through the H2020 project EXCELL (, grant No. 691829.

This work was also partially supported by the EIT Health GRaCEAGE grant number 18429 awarded to C.D. Buckingham.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and Applied ScienceAston UniversityBirminghamUK

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