Diversity Comparison of Pareto Front Approximations in Many-Objective Optimization


Diversity assessment of Pareto front approximations is an important issue in the stochastic multiobjective optimization community. Most of the diversity indicators in the literature were designed to work for any number of objectives of Pareto front approximations in principle, but in practice many of these indicators are infeasible or not workable when the number of objectives is large. In this paper, we propose a diversity comparison indicator (DCI) to assess the diversity of Pareto front approximations in many-objective optimization. DCI evaluates relative quality of different Pareto front approximations rather than provides an absolute measure of distribution for a single approximation. In DCI, all the concerned approximations are put into a grid environment so that there are some hyper-boxes containing one or more solutions. The proposed indicator only considers the contribution of different approximations to nonempty hyperboxes. Therefore, the computational cost does not increase exponentially with the number of objectives. In fact, the implementation of DCI is of quadratic time complexity, which is fully independent of the number of divisions used in grid. Systematic experiments are conducted using three groups of artificial Pareto front approximations and seven groups of real Pareto front approximations with different numbers of objectives to verify the effectiveness of DCI. Moreover, a comparison with two diversity indicators used widely in many-objective optimization is made analytically and empirically. Finally, a parametric investigation reveals interesting insights of the division number in grid and also offers some suggested settings to the users with different preferences.