A systematic literature review of adaptive parameter control methods for evolutionary algorithms

Aldeida Aleti, Irene Moser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) are robust stochastic optimisers that perform well over a wide range of problems. Their robustness, however, may be affected by several adjustable parameters, such as mutation rate, crossover rate, and population size. Algorithm parameters are usually problem-specific, and often have to be tuned not only to the problem but even the problem instance at hand to achieve ideal performance. In addition, research has shown that different parameter values may be optimal at different stages of the optimisation process. To address these issues, researchers have shifted their focus to adaptive parameter control, in which parameter values are adjusted during the optimisation process based on the performance of the algorithm. These methods redefine parameter values repeatedly based on implicit or explicit rules that decide how to make the best use of feedback from the optimisation algorithm. In this survey, we systematically investigate the state of the art in adaptive parameter control. The approaches are classified using a new conceptual model that subdivides the process of adapting parameter values into four steps that are present explicitly or implicitly in all existing approaches that tune parameters dynamically during the optimisation process. The analysis reveals the major focus areas of adaptive parameter control research as well as gaps and potential directions for further development in this area.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number56
    Number of pages35
    JournalACM Computing Surveys
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


    • Evolutionary algorithms
    • Adaptive parameter control

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