The paper introduces a stochastic model for a class of population-based global optimization meta-heuristics, that generalizes existing models in the following ways. First of all, an individual becomes an active software agent characterized by the constant genotype and the meme that may change during the optimization process. Second, the model embraces the asynchronous processing of agent’s actions. Third, we consider a vast variety of possible actions that include the conventional mixing operations (e.g. mutation, cloning, crossover) as well as migrations among demes and local optimization methods. Despite the fact that the model fits many popular algorithms and strategies (e.g. genetic algorithms with tournament selection) it is mainly devoted to study memetic algorithms.
The model is composed of two parts: EMAS architecture (data structures and management strategies) allowing to define the space of states and the framework for stochastic agent actions and the stationary Markov chain described in terms of this architecture. The probability transition function has been obtained and the Markov kernels for sample actions have been computed.
The obtained theoretical results are helpful for studying metaheuristics conforming to the EMAS architecture. The designed synchronization allows the safe, coarse-grained parallel implementation and its effective, sub-optimal scheduling in a distributed computer environment. The proved strong ergodicity of the finite state Markov chain results in the asymptotic stochastic guarantee of success, which in turn imposes the liveness of a studied metaheuristic. The Markov chain delivers the sampling measure at an arbitrary step of computations, which allows further asymptotic studies, e.g. on various kinds of the stochastic convergence
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