Multi-objective Improvement of Software Using Co-evolution and Smart Seeding


Optimising non-functional properties of software is an important pall of the implementation process. One such property is execution time, and compilers target a reduction in execution time using a variety of optimisation techniques. Compiler optimisation is not always able to produce semantically equivalent alternatives that improve execution times, even if such alternatives are known to exist. Often, this is due to the local nature of such optimisations. In this paper we present a novel framework for optimising existing software using a hybrid of evolutionary optimisation techniques. Given as input the implementation of a program or function, we use Genetic Programming to evolve it new semantically equivalent version, optimised to reduce execution time subject to it given probability distribution of inputs. We employ a co-evolved population of test cases to encourage the preservation of the program's semantics, and exploit the original program through seeding of the population in order to focus the search. We carry out experiments to identify the important factors in maximising efficiency gains. Although in this work we have optimised execution time, other non-functional criteria could be optimised in a similar manner.