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Modeling building-block interdependency

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS,volume 1498)


The Building-Block Hypothesis appeals to the notion of problem decomposition and the assembly of solutions from sub-solutions. Accordingly, there have been many varieties of GA lest problems with a structure based on building-blocks. Many of these problems use deceptive fitness functions to model interdependency between the bits within a block. However, very few have any model of interdependency between building-blocks; those that do are not consistent in the type of interaction used intra-block and inter-block. This paper discusses the inadequacies of the various lest problems in the literature and clarifies the concept of building-block interdependency. We formulate a principled model of hierarchical interdependency that can be applied through many levels in a consistent manner and introduce Hierarchical If-and-only-if (H-1FF) as a canonical example. We present some empirical results of GAs on H-1FF showing that if population diversity is maintained and linkage is tight then the GA is able to identify and manipulate building-blocks over many levels of assembly, as the Building-Block Hypothesis suggests.


  • Genetic Algorithm
  • Fitness Landscape
  • Problem Decomposition
  • Uniform Crossover
  • Recursive Construction

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  • DOI: 10.1007/BFb0056853
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© 1998 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Watson, R.A., Hornby, G.S., Pollack, J.B. (1998). Modeling building-block interdependency. In: Eiben, A.E., Bäck, T., Schoenauer, M., Schwefel, HP. (eds) Parallel Problem Solving from Nature — PPSN V. PPSN 1998. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 1498. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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