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Title: An Investigation of Factors Influencing Algorithm Selection for High Dimensional Continuous Optimisation Problems
Author(s): Graham, Kevin
Supervisor(s): Brownlee, Alexander
Cairns, David
Smith, Leslie
Keywords: large-scale optimisation
algorithm selection
automatic parameter tuning
parameter tuning
algorithm configuration
continuous optimisation
optimisation benchmark
genetic algorithm
particle swarm optimisation
differential evolution
covarience matrix adaptation evolutionary strategy
simulated annealing
hill climbing
search-based optimisation
metaheuristic search
metaheuristic scalability
Issue Date: 1-Nov-2019
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The problem of algorithm selection is of great importance to the optimisation community, with a number of publications present in the Body-of-Knowledge. This importance stems from the consequences of the No-Free-Lunch Theorem which states that there cannot exist a single algorithm capable of solving all possible problems. However, despite this importance, the algorithm selection problem has of yet failed to gain widespread attention . In particular, little to no work in this area has been carried out with a focus on large-scale optimisation; a field quickly gaining momentum in line with advancements and influence of big data processing. As such, it is not as yet clear as to what factors, if any, influence the selection of algorithms for very high-dimensional problems (> 1000) - and it is entirely possible that algorithms that may not work well in lower dimensions may in fact work well in much higher dimensional spaces and vice-versa. This work therefore aims to begin addressing this knowledge gap by investigating some of these influencing factors for some common metaheuristic variants. To this end, typical parameters native to several metaheuristic algorithms are firstly tuned using the state-of-the-art automatic parameter tuner, SMAC. Tuning produces separate parameter configurations of each metaheuristic for each of a set of continuous benchmark functions; specifically, for every algorithm-function pairing, configurations are found for each dimensionality of the function from a geometrically increasing scale (from 2 to 1500 dimensions). The nature of this tuning is therefore highly computationally expensive necessitating the use of SMAC. Using these sets of parameter configurations, a vast amount of performance data relating to the large-scale optimisation of our benchmark suite by each metaheuristic was subsequently generated. From the generated data and its analysis, several behaviours presented by the metaheuristics as applied to large-scale optimisation have been identified and discussed. Further, this thesis provides a concise review of the relevant literature for the consumption of other researchers looking to progress in this area in addition to the large volume of data produced, relevant to the large-scale optimisation of our benchmark suite by the applied set of common metaheuristics. All work presented in this thesis was funded by EPSRC grant: EP/J017515/1 through the DAASE project.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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