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Title: Semantic and structural analysis of genetic programming
Author: Beadle, Lawrence
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 7067
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2009
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Genetic programming (GP) is a subset of evolutionary computation where candidate solutions are evaluated through execution or interpreted execution. The candidate solutions generated by GP are in the form of computer programs, which are evolved to achieve a stated objective. Darwinian evolutionary theory inspires the processes that make up GP which include crossover, mutation and selection. During a GP run, crossover, mutation and selection are performed iteratively until a program that satisfies the stated objectives is produced or a certain number of time steps have elapsed. The objectives of this thesis are to empirically analyse three different aspects of these evolved programs. These three aspects are diversity, efficient representation and the changing structure of programs during evolution. In addition to these analyses, novel algorithms are presented in order to test theories, improve the overall performance of GP and reduce program size. This thesis makes three contributions to the field of GP. Firstly, a detailed analysis is performed of the process of initialisation (generating random programs to start evolution) using four novel algorithms to empirically evaluate specific traits of starting populations of programs. It is shown how two factors simultaneously effect how strong the performance of starting population will be after a GP run. Secondly, semantically based operators are applied during evolution to encourage behavioural diversity and reduce the size of programs by removing inefficient segments of code during evolution. It is demonstrated how these specialist operators can be effective individually and when combined in a series of experiments. Finally, the role of the structure of programs is considered during evolution under different evolutionary parameters considering different problem domains. This analysis reveals some interesting effects of evolution on program structure as well as offering evidence to support the success of the specialist operators.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA 76 Software, computer programming,