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Maximizing drift is not optimal for solving OneMax

Carola Doerr


It seems very intuitive that for the maximization of the OneMax problem [MATHS HERE] the best that an elitist unary unbiased search algorithm can do is to store a best so far solution, and to modify it with the operator that yields the best possible expected progress in function value. This assumption has been implicitly used in several empirical works. [Doerr, Doerr, Yang: GECCO 2016] formally proved that this approach is indeed almost optimal. In this work we demonstrate that drift maximization is not optimal. More precisely, we show that for most fitness levels between n/2 and 2n/3 the optimal mutation strengths are larger than the drift-maximizing ones. This implies that the optimal RLS is more risk-affine than the variant maximizing the step-wise expected progress. We show similar results for the mutation rates of the classic (1+1) Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) and its resampling variant, the (1+1) EA>0. As a result of independent interest we show that the optimal mutation strengths, unlike the drift-maximizing ones, can be even.

Dates and versions

hal-02179613 , version 1 (10-07-2019)



Nathan Buskulic, Carola Doerr. Maximizing drift is not optimal for solving OneMax. Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Companion Material, Jul 2019, Prague, Czech Republic. pp.425-426, ⟨10.1145/3319619.3321952⟩. ⟨hal-02179613⟩
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