Last week I went to Budapest to present the paper “An Ant-Based Rule for UMDA’s Update Strategy” in the 10th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL 2009). ECAL is one of the leading congresses in the area and some of the most relevant work in the Artificial Life research field is presented there in first hand. It is held every two years and this time the capital of Hungary was chosen to host the event. The Academy of Sciences, in Roosevelt tér (square), on the banks of the Danube and with a perfect view on the Castle and the hills of Buda was ECAL’s headquarters for 4 days.
Only 30% of the accepted papers were selected for oral presentation. The remaining was scheduled for poster sessions (although all the accepted papers were published in full-length in two LNCS volumes) that lasted…the whole day! I cannot understand why not all the congresses follow a line similar to PPSN (a poster-only congress, with 90 minutes sessions) when it comes to poster sessions, but ECAL’s strategy is, my opinion, particularly ineffective and exhausting.
ECAL 2009, Budapest, Academy of Sciences
As for our paper, it presents a study on an alternative update strategy for the Univariate Marginal Distribution Algorithm based on the ACO computational paradigm and first presented here. The aim is to control the balance between exploration and exploitation in order to avoid diversity loss, reduce the optimal population size and improve the scalability of the algorithm on hard problems. The results confirmed the hypothesis. This is the abstract:
This paper investigates an update strategy for the Univariate Marginal Distribution Algorithm (UMDA) probabilistic model inspired by the equations of the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) computational paradigm. By adapting ACO’s transition probability equations to the univariate probabilistic model, it is possible to control the balance between exploration and exploitation by tuning a single parameter. It is expected that a proper balance can improve the scalability of the algorithm on hard problems with bounded difficulties and experiments conducted on such problems with increasing difficulty and size confirmed these assumptions. These are important results because the performance is improved without increasing the complexity of the model, which is known to have a considerable computational effort.