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Title: Evolutionary many-objective optimisation : pushing the boundaries
Author: Li, Miqing
ISNI:       0000 0001 2415 7975
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2015
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Many-objective optimisation poses great challenges to evolutionary algorithms. To start with, the ineffectiveness of the Pareto dominance relation, which is the most important criterion in multi-objective optimisation, results in the underperformance of traditional Pareto-based algorithms. Also, the aggravation of the conflict between proximity and diversity, along with increasing time or space requirement as well as parameter sensitivity, has become key barriers to the design of effective many-objective optimisation algorithms. Furthermore, the infeasibility of solutions' direct observation can lead to serious difficulties in algorithms' performance investigation and comparison. In this thesis, we address these challenges, aiming to make evolutionary algorithms as effective in many-objective optimisation as in two- or three-objective optimisation. First, we significantly enhance Pareto-based algorithms to make them suitable for many-objective optimisation by placing individuals with poor proximity into crowded regions so that these individuals can have a better chance to be eliminated. Second, we propose a grid-based evolutionary algorithm which explores the potential of the grid to deal with many-objective optimisation problems. Third, we present a bi-goal evolution framework that converts many objectives of a given problem into two objectives regarding proximity and diversity, thus creating an optimisation problem in which the objectives are the goals of the search process itself. Fourth, we propose a comprehensive performance indicator to compare evolutionary algorithms in optimisation problems with various Pareto front shapes and any objective dimensionality. Finally, we construct a test problem to aid the visual investigation of evolutionary search, with its Pareto optimal solutions in a two-dimensional decision space having similar distribution to their images in a higher-dimensional objective space. The work reported in this thesis is the outcome of innovative attempts at addressing some of the most challenging problems in evolutionary many-objective optimisation. This research has not only made some of the existing approaches, such as Pareto-based or grid-based algorithms that were traditionally regarded as unsuitable, now effective for many-objective optimisation, but also pushed other important boundaries with novel ideas including bi-goal evolution, a comprehensive performance indicator and a test problem for visual investigation. All the proposed algorithms have been systematically evaluated against existing state of the arts, and some of these algorithms have already been taken up by researchers and practitioners in the field.
Supervisor: Liu, X. ; Yang, S. Sponsor: Department of Computer Science, Brunel University London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Algorithm design ; Balance between convergence and diversity ; Performance assessment ; Test problems ; Visualisation