Sharks, Zombies and Volleyball: Lessons from the Evolutionary Computation Bestiary

Felipe Campelo, Claus Aranha

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


    The field of optimization metaheuristics has a long history of
    finding inspiration in natural systems. Starting from classic
    methods such as Genetic Algorithms and Ant Colony Optimization, more recent methods claim to be inspired by natural
    (and sometimes even supernatural) systems and phenomena -
    from birds and barnacles to reincarnation and zombies. Since
    2014 we publish a humorous website, The Bestiary of Evolutionary Computation, to catalog these methods, witnessing
    an explosion of metaphor-heavy algorithms in the literature.
    While metaphors can be powerful inspiration tools, we argue
    that the emergence of hundreds of barely discernible algorithmic variants under different labels and nomenclatures has
    been counterproductive to the scientific progress of the field,
    as it neither improves our ability to understand and simulate
    biological systems, nor contributes generalizable knowledge
    or design principles for global optimization approaches. In
    this short paper we discuss some of the possible causes of this
    trend, its negative consequences to the field, as well as some
    efforts aimed at moving the area of metaheuristics towards a
    better balance between inspiration and scientific soundness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the LIFELIKE Computing Systems Workshop 2021
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2021
    EventLIFELIKE Computing Systems Workshop 2021 -
    Duration: 19 Jul 202119 Jul 2021

    Publication series

    NameCEUR Workshop Proceedings
    ISSN (Print)1613-0073


    WorkshopLIFELIKE Computing Systems Workshop 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright ©2021 for this paper by its authors. Use permitted under Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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