A Comparison of Fitness-Case Sampling Methods for Symbolic Regression with Genetic Programming

Published in Conferences Papers

The canonical approach towards fitness evaluation in Genetic Programming (GP) is to use a static training set to determine fitness, based on a cost function averaged over all fitness-cases. However, motivated by different goals, researchers have recently proposed several techniques that focus selective pressure on a subset of fitness-cases at each generation. These approaches can be described as fitness-case sampling techniques, where the training set is sampled, in some way, to determine fitness. This paper shows a comprehensive evaluation of some of the most recent sampling methods, using benchmark and real-world problems for symbolic regression. The algorithms considered here are Interleaved Sampling, Random Interleaved Sampling, Lexicase Selection and a new sampling technique is proposed called Keep-Worst Interleaved Sampling (KW-IS). The algorithms are extensively evaluated based on test performance, overfitting and bloat. Results suggest that sampling techniques can improve performance compared with standard GP. While on synthetic benchmarks the difference is slight or none at all, on real-world problems the differences are substantial. Some of the best results were achieved by Lexicase Selection and Keep Worse-Interleaved Sampling. Results also show that on real-world problems overfitting correlates strongly with bloating. Furthermore, the sampling techniques provide efficiency, since they reduce the number of fitness-case evaluations required over an entire run.

Published in
EVOLVE - A Bridge between Probability, Set Oriented Numerics, and Evolutionary Computation V
Date of conference
July 1 - 4, 2014