From White to Black through Gray... and one step back to Dark Gray

Evolutionary algorithms are one of the branches of artificial intelligence. They are used to solve a number of theoretical and practical optimization problems in various fields. Most often, these are difficult tasks of large size and complexity. One of the ways to improve the effectiveness of the optimization process is to decompose the structure of the problem. Many modern optimizers, including evolutionary algorithms, utilize the inter-gene dependencies model. It is useful in solving problems from various domains: binary, discrete non-binary, permutation-based, continuous, and others. It has been successfully applied to solving single- and multi-objective problems. A properly designed optimizer can significantly improve the quality of the final solution. Moreover, the appropriate use of the knowledge about the nature of the problem can lead to proposing results of high quality and at a low computational cost.

The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce participants to the four types of optimization: White-box, Gray-box, Black-box, and Dark Gray-box, and to show their similarities and differences, and their advantages and disadvantages. Then, we will show what the variable interactions graph is and we will discuss the origin and nature of overlaps. We will also show how you can significantly speed up the computation process. Next, we will discuss statistical and empirical linkage learning techniques. The discussed issues will be supported by numerous examples and drawings.

The tutorial will end with a summary in which we will indicate the most promising directions for further research.

This tutorial is dedicated to researchers and practitioners on all levels of expertise – to those starting their work with optimization or wishing to know more.

Tutorial organizer: prof. Michal Witold Przewoźniczek

Michal Przewoźniczek serves as an associate professor at the Department of Systems and Computer Networks at Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (WUST). In 2019, while associated with WUST, he also worked as a researcher at the Department of Computer Science, The University of York, England. His research concentrates on the application of evolutionary algorithms to practical problems. To obtain this objective, he investigates the linkage learning techniques, multi-population approaches, dynamic management of subpopulations, and others.

He leads projects in cooperation with commercial companies. He has co-invented (also as a co-owner of a software company) many prototype systems implemented in the industry field in Poland and abroad. He has also proposed and received funding for scientific projects concerning fundamental research in the field of Evolutionary Computation, in which he acts as a Principal Investigator.