Title: Ecological 'theatre' for evolutionary computing 'play': some insights from population ecology and evolutionary ecology

Authors: Zhanshan Sam Ma

Addresses: Laboratory of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, Kunming, 650223, China; Department of Computer Science, Institute of Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83843, USA

Abstract: In a classic monograph titled Ecological Theatre and Evolutionary Play, Hutchinson (1966) tried to |break| the genetics dominance over the study of evolution and emphasised that natural selection happens in the context of environment. His vision clearly indicated the inseparability between evolution and ecology. In other words, without ecological |theatre|, natural selection has no place to act and evolution cannot happen. Perhaps following a similar development trajectory of evolutionary study in biology, much of the evolutionary computing (EC) has been inspired by genetics-centred evolutionary theory. The major objective of this paper is to suggest and review some inspirations from several fields of population ecology and evolutionary ecology to evolutionary computing (EC). A minor one is to demonstrate that, at least in the case of EC population size setting, the dynamic population, which is inspired by the natural population dynamics, indeed outperforms the traditional fixed-size population in the genetic algorithms (GA).

Keywords: evolutionary computing; genetic algorithms; GAs; population ecology; evolutionary ecology; population dynamics; population spatial distribution; chaos theory; power law and population aggregation critical density; PACD.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIC.2011.038702

International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation, 2011 Vol.3 No.1, pp.31 - 55

Available online: 23 Feb 2011 *

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