A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a collection of mobile nodes communicating through wireless connections without any prior network infrastructure. In such a network the broadcasting methods are widely used for sending safety messages and routing information. To transmit a broadcast message effectively in a wide and high mobility MANET (for instance in vehicular ad hoc network) is a hard task to achieve. An efficient communication algorithm must take into account several aspects like the neighborhood density, the size and shape of the network, the use of the channel. Probabilistic strategies are often used because they do not involve additional latency. Some solutions have been proposed to make their parameters vary dynamically. For instance, the retransmission probability increases when the number of neighbors decreases. But, the authors do not optimize parameters for various environments. This article aims at determining the best communication strategies for each node according to its neighborhood density. It describes a tool combining a network simulator (ns-2) and an evolutionary algorithm (EA). Five types of context are considered. For each of them, we tackle the best behavior for each node to determine the right input parameters. The proposed EA is first compared to three EAs found in the literature: two well-known EAs (NSGA-II and SPEA2) and a more recent one (DECMOSA-SQP). Then, it is applied to the MANET broadcasting problem. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.