Unconventional Optimizer Development
The fruits of bio-inspired approaches to optimisation include several techniques that are now commonly used in practice to address real-world problems. A common situation is as follows: an organisation has a regularly occurring problem to solve (typically a logistics problem), and they engage a research group or a consultancy to deliver an optimizer that can then be used as they regularly solve instances of that problem. The research group will then spend perhaps several months developing the optimizer, and this will almost always involve:
deciding to use a specific algorithm framework (e.g. tabu search or evolutionary search);
tuning an algorithm over many problem instances in the space of interest, towards getting the best results achievable in a given time (perhaps minutes).