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Title: Optimisation of definition structures & parameter values in process algebra models using evolutionary computation
Author: Oaken, David R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 8788
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2014
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Process Algebras are a Formal Modelling methodology which are an effective tool for defining models of complex systems, particularly those involving multiple interacting processes. However, describing such a model using Process Algebras requires expertise from both the modeller and the domain expert. Finding the correct model to describe a system can be difficult. Further more, even with the correct model, parameter tuning to allow model outputs to match experimental data can also be both difficult and time consuming. Evolutionary Algorithms provide effective methods for finding solutions to optimisation problems with large and noisy search spaces. Evolutionary Algorithms have been proven to be well suited to investigating parameter fitting problems in order to match known data or desired behaviour. It is proposed that Process Algebras and Evolutionary Algorithms have complementary strengths for developing models of complex systems. Evolutionary Algorithms require a precise and accurate fitness function to score and rank solutions. Process Algebras can be incorporated into the fitness function to provide this mathematical score. Presented in this work is the Evolving Process Algebra (EPA) framework, designed for the application of Evolutionary Algorithms (specifically Genetic Algorithms and Genetic Programming optimisation techniques) to models described in Process Algebra (specifically PEPA and Bio-PEPA) with the aim of evolving fitter models. The EPA framework is demonstrated using multiple complex systems. For PEPA this includes the dining philosophers resource allocation problem, the repressilator genetic circuit, the G-protein cellular signal regulators and two epidemiological problems: HIV and the measles virus. For Bio-PEPA the problems include a biochemical reactant-product system, a generic genetic network, a variant of the G-protein system and three epidemiological problems derived from the measles virus. Also presented is the EPA Utility Assistant program; a lightweight graphical user interface. This is designed to open the full functionality and parallelisation of the EPA framework to beginner or naive users. In addition, the assistant program aids in collating and graphing after experiments are completed.
Supervisor: Shankland, Carron; Cairns, David Sponsor: SICSA
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: genetic algorithms ; process algebra ; genetic programming ; optimisation ; Algebra ; Genetic programming (Computer science)