Archive-name:   ai-faq/genetic/part1
Last-Modified:  3/20/95
Issue:          3.1



				    Guide to

			   Evolutionary Computation

			   (FAQ in

				   edited by

			       Joerg Heitkoetter
			  c/o EUnet Deutschland GmbH,
			Techo-Park, Emil-Figge-Str. 80,
			   D-44227 Dortmund, Germany
			  or <>


				 David Beasley
		    c/o Department of Computing Mathematics
		    University of Wales, College of Cardiff
			    Cardiff, United Kingdom

	       Search this posting first if you have a question
	   If someone else asks a question which is answered in here

				  and finally

				  DON'T PANIC!

     FAQ  /F-A-Q/  or  /fak/  [USENET] n.  1. A Frequently Asked Question.
	  2. A compendium of  accumulated  lore,  posted  periodically  to
	  high-volume   newsgroups   in   an  attempt  to  forestall  such
	  questions.  Some people prefer the term  `FAQ  list'  or  `FAQL'
	  /fa'kl/, reserving `FAQ' for sense 1.

	  /R-T-F-A-Q/  [USENET:  primarily  written, by analogy with RTFM]
	  imp. Abbrev. for `Read the FAQ!', an exhortation that the person
	  addressed  ought to read the newsgroup's FAQ list before posting

     RTFM /R-T-F-M/ [UNIX] imp. Acronym for `Read The Fucking Manual'.  1.
	  Used  by  gurus  to brush off questions they consider trivial or
	  annoying.  Compare Don't do that, then!  2. Used when  reporting
	  a  problem  to  indicate  that  you  aren't  just  asking out of
	  randomness.  "No, I can't figure out how to interface UNIX to my
	  toaster,  and  yes,  I  have RTFM."  Unlike sense 1, this use is
	  considered polite. ...
		 --- "The on-line hacker Jargon File, version 3.0, 29 July
	      1993",      available via anon. ftp to as

     This posting is intended to  help,  provide  basic  information,  and
     serve  as  a  first  straw  for individuals, i.e.  uninitiated hitch-
     hikers, who are stranded in the mindboggling universe of Evolutionary
     Computation  (EC);  that  in turn is only a small footpath to an even
     more mindboggling  scientific  universe,  that,  incorporating  Fuzzy
     Systems,  and Artificial Neural Networks, is sometimes referred to as
     Computational Intelligence (CI); that in turn is only part of an even
     more  advanced scientific universe of mindparalysing complexity, that
     incorporating Artificial Life, Fractal Geometry,  and  other  Complex
     Systems  Sciences might someday be referred to as Natural Computation

     Over the course of the past  years,  GLOBAL  OPTIMIZATION  algorithms
     imitating  certain  principles of nature have proved their usefulness
     in various domains of  applications.  Especially  worth  copying  are
     those  principles  where  nature  has  found  "stable  islands"  in a
     "turbulent ocean" of solution possibilities. Such  phenomena  can  be
     found  in annealing processes, central nervous systems and biological
     EVOLUTION, which in turn have  lead  to  the  following  OPTIMIZATION
     methods:  Simulated Annealing (SA), Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs)
     and the field of Evolutionary Computation (EC).

     EC may currently be characterized by the following pathways:  Genetic
     Algorithms  (GA), Evolutionary Programming (EP), Evolution Strategies
     (ES), Classifier Systems (CFS), Genetic Programming (GP), and several
     other  problem  solving  strategies,  that  are based upon biological
     observations, that date back to Charles Darwin's discoveries  in  the
     19th  century: the means of natural selection and the survival of the
     fittest, i.e. the "theory of evolution." The inspired algorithms  are
     thus termed Evolutionary Algorithms (EA).

     Moreover,  this  posting  is  intended  to  help  those  who are just
     beginning to read this newsgroup, and those who are new "on"  USENET.
     It  shall help to avoid lengthy discussions of questions that usually
     arise for beginners of one or the other kind, and which are boring to
     read again and again by "old-timers."

     You  will  see  this  posting  popping  up periodically in the USENET
     newsgroup (and also comp.answers,  and  news.answers,
     where it should be locatable at any time).

     Contributions, additions, corrections, cash, etc. are always welcome.
     Send e-mail to the address above.

     This periodic posting is not meant to discuss any topic exhaustively,
     but  should  be  thought of as a list of reference pointers, instead.
     This posting is provided on an "as is" basis, NO WARRANTY  whatsoever
     is expressed or implied, especially, NO WARRANTY that the information
     contained herein  is  up-to-date,  correct  or  useful  in  any  way,
     although all this is intended.
     Moreover,  please  note  that  the  opinions  expressed herein do not
     necessarily reflect those of the editors' institutions or  employers,
     neither  as  a  whole, nor in part. They are just the amalgamation of
     the editors' collections of ideas,  and  contributions  gleaned  from
     other sources.

     NOTE:  some  portions of this otherwise rather dry guide are intended
     to be satirical.  If you do not recognize it as  such,  consult  your
     local doctor or a professional comedian.

     This  guide  is  big.  Really big. You just won't believe how hugely,
     vastly, mindbogglingly big it is. That's why it has been split into a
     "trilogy" -- which, like all successful trilogies, eventually ends up
     consisting of more than three parts.

 Searching for answers
     To find the answer of question number x, just search for  the  string
     "Qx:". (So the answer to question 42 is at "Q42:"!)

 What does, e.g. [ICGA85] mean?
     Some  books are referenced again and again, that's why they have this
     kind of "tag", that an experienced hitch-hiker will search for in the
     list  of  books  (see Q10: and Q12: and other places) to dissolve the
     riddle. Here, they have a ":" appended, thus you can search  for  the
     string "[ICGA85]:" for example.

 Why all this UPPERCASING in running text?
     Words  written  in  all  uppercase  letters  are  cross-references to
     entries in the Glossary (see Q99). Again, they have a  ":"  appended,
     thus  if  you  find,  say  EVOLUTION,  you  can search for the string
     "EVOLUTION:" in the Glossary.

 FTP and HTTP naming conventions
     A file available on an FTP server will be  specified  as:  <ftp-site-
     name>:<the-complete-filename>  So for example, the file bar.tar.gz in
     the directory /pub/foo on the ftp server  would  be
     specified as:

     A  specification  ending  with  a  "/"  is  a  reference  to  a whole
     directory, e.g.

     HTTP files are specified in a  similar  way,  but  with  the  prefix:

 Referencing this Guide
     If you want to reference this guide it should look like:

     Heitkoetter,  Joerg  and  Beasley,  David,  eds.   (1994) "The Hitch-
     Hiker's Guide to Evolutionary Computation: A list of Frequently Asked
     Questions  (FAQ)", USENET :  Available via anonymous
     FTP from  About
     90 pages.

     Or simply call it "the Guide", or "HHGTEC" for acronymaniacs.

 Obtaining copies of this guide
     This      FAQ      is      available      between     postings     on as  the  files:
     part1  to  part6. The FAQ may also be retrieved by e-mail from <mail->. Send a message to the mail-server  with  "help"
     and "index" in the body on separate lines for more information.

     A  PostScript  version  is  also  available.  This looks really crisp
     (using boldface, italics, etc.),  and  is  available  for  those  who
     prefer  offline  reading.   Get  it  from  ENCORE (See Q15.3) in file
     FAQ/ (the ASCII text versions are in the  same  directory
     too).   In  Germany,  its  also  available  from  the SyS ftp-server:

		"As a net is made up of a series of ties, so everything in
	    this world is connected by a series of ties.  If anyone thinks
	   that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, he is
	   mistaken.  It is called a net because it is made up of a series
		 of interconnected meshes, and each mesh has its place and
			      responsibility in relation to other meshes."

								--- Buddha

 The ZEN Puzzle
     For some weird reason this guide contains some puzzles which can only
     be  solved  by  cautious  readers  who have (1) a certain amount of a
     certain kind of humor, (2) a certain amount of patience and time, (3)
     a  certain  amount of experience in ZEN NAVIGATION, and (4) a certain
     amount of books of a certain author.

     Usually, puzzles search either for certain answers (more  often,  ONE
     answer)  to  a  question;  or,  for the real smartasses, sometimes an
     answer is presented, and a certain question  is  searched  for.   ZEN
     puzzles are even more challenging: you have to come up with an answer
     to a question, both of which are not  explicitly,  rather  implicitly
     stated  somewhere  in  this  FAQ.   Thus, you are expected to give an
     answer AND a question!

     To give an impression what this is all about, consider the following,
     submitted  by  Craig  W.  Reynolds.  The correct question is: "Why is
     Fisher's `improbability quote' (cf EPILOGUE) included in this  FAQ?",
     Craig's correct answer is: `This is a GREAT quotation, it sounds like
     something directly out of  a  turn  of  the  century  Douglas  Adams:
     Natural  SELECTION:  the original "Infinite Improbability Drive"' Got
     the message? Well, this was easy and very obvious. The other  puzzles
     are more challenging...

     However,  all  this is just for fun (mine and hopefully yours), there
     is nothing like the $100 price, some big shots in  computer  science,
     e.g.   Don  Knuth  usually  offer;  all  there  is  but  a  honorable
     mentioning of the ZEN navigator, including the  puzzle  s/he  solved.
     It's  thus  like  in  real life: don't expect to make money from your
     time being a scientist, it's all just for the fun of it...

     Enjoy the trip!


     Q0: How about an introduction to all this?
     Q0.1: What is all about?
     Q0.2: How do I get started? What about USENET documentation?


     Q1: What are Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs)?
     Q1.1: What's a Genetic Algorithm (GA)?
     Q1.2: What's Evolutionary Programming (EP)?
     Q1.3: What's an Evolution Strategy (ES)?
     Q1.4: What's a Classifier System (CFS)?
     Q1.5: What's Genetic Programming (GP)?


     Q2: What applications of EAs are there?
     Q3: Who is concerned with EAs?

     Q4: How many EAs exist? Which?
     Q4.1: What about Alife systems, like Tierra and VENUS?

     Q5: What about all this Optimization stuff?


     Q10: What introductory material on EAs is there?
     Q10.1: Suitable background reading for beginners?
     Q10.2: Textbooks on EC?
     Q10.3: The Classics?
     Q10.4: Introductory Journal Articles?
     Q10.5: Introductory Technical Reports?
     Q10.6: Not-quite-so-introductory Literature?
     Q10.7: Biological Background Readings?
     Q10.8: On-line bibliography collections?
     Q10.9: Videos?
     Q10.10: CD-ROMs?
     Q10.11: How do I get a copy of a dissertation?

     Q11: What EC related journals and magazines are there?

     Q12: What are the important conferences/proceedings on EC?

     Q13: What Evolutionary Computation Associations exist?

     Q14: What Technical Reports are available?

     Q15: What information is available over the net?
     Q15.1: What digests are there?
     Q15.2: What mailing lists are there?
     Q15.3: What online information repositories are there?
     Q15.4: What relevant newsgroups and FAQs are there?
     Q15.5: What about all these Internet Services?


     Q20: What EA software packages are available?
     Q20.1: Free software packages?
     Q20.2: Commercial software packages?
     Q20.3: Current research projects?


     Q21: What are Gray codes, and why are they used?

     Q22: What test data is available?

     Q42: What is Life all about?
     Q42b: Is there a FAQ to this group?

     Q98: Are there any patents on EAs?

     Q99: A Glossary on EAs?
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