Search, Binary Representations and Counting Optima

  • Soraya Rana
  • L. Darrell Whitley
Part of the The IMA Volumes in Mathematics and its Applications book series (IMA, volume 111)


Choosing a good representation is a vital component of solving any search problem. However, choosing a good representation for a problem is as difficult as choosing a good search algorithm for a problem. Wolpert and Мacready’s No Free Lunch theorem proves that no search algorithm is better than any other over all possible discrete functions. We elaborate on the No Free Lunch theorem by proving that there tend to be a small set of points that occur as local optima under almost all representations. Along with the analytical results, we provide some empirical evaluation of two representations commonly used in genetic algorithms: Binary Reflected Gray coding and standard Binary encoding.

Key words

genetic algorithms evolutionary computing search mathematical foundations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soraya Rana
    • 1
  • L. Darrell Whitley
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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