Visualizing Evolvability with Price’s Equation
Mitchell A. Potter
Jeffrey K. Bassett
Kenneth A. De Jong
The term “premature convergence” has been used for many years as an explanation as to why an evolutionary algorithm fails to find a global optimum, without providing much insight into how to fix the problem and/or avoid it in the future. In this paper we tie these issues to notions of (lack of) evolvability that have been explored in the population genetics community for many years. In particular, we show how the central equation in Price’s Theorem can be extended in such a way as to separate out the individual contributions that reproductive operators make to evolvability, paving the way for better designed EAs in the future.