Learning probability distributions in continuous evolutionary algorithms – a comparative review


S. Kern, S. D. Mueller, N. Hansen, D. Bueche, J. Ocenasek, P. Koumoutsakos, Natural Computing, 3(1), 77-112, 2004



We present a comparative review of Evolutionary Algorithms that generate new population members by sampling a probability distribution constructed during the optimization process. We present a unifying formulation for five such algorithms that enables us to characterize them based on the parametrization of the probability distribution, the learning methodology, and the use of historical information. The algorithms are evaluated on a number of test functions in order to assess their relative strengths and weaknesses. This comparative review helps to identify areas of applicability for the algorithms and to guide future algorithmic developments.