History-Based Topological Speciation for Multimodal Optimization


Evolutionary algorithms integrating various niching techniques have been widely used to find multiple optima of an optimization problem. In recent years, an increasing amount of research has been focused on the design and application of speciation-based niching techniques. These techniques rely on speciation to partition a population into subpopulations (species) such that each occupies a different region of attraction (niche) on the fitness landscape. Existing speciation methods are either distance-based or topology-based. Topology-based methods are more flexible and have fewer assumptions than distance-based methods. However, existing topology-based methods all require sampling and evaluating new individuals in order to capture the landscape topography. This incurs additional fitness evaluations (FEs), which is a drawback, especially when the FE budget is limited. In this paper, a new topology-based speciation method named history-based topological speciation (HTS) is proposed. It relies exclusively on search history to capture the landscape topography and, therefore, does not require any additional FEs to be performed. To the best of our knowledge, HTS is the only parameter-free speciation method at the moment. Both theoretical and empirical analyses have been conducted. Theoretical analysis shows that HTS incurs acceptable computational overhead. In the experimental study, HTS outperformed existing topology-based methods on benchmark functions in up to 32-D space and with as many as 50 optima, and the time overhead was practically negligible if a single FE took seconds.