Toward Adaptive Knowledge Transfer in Multifactorial Evolutionary Computation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Lei Zhou
  • Liang Feng
  • Jinghui Zhong
  • Zexuan Zhu
  • Kai Liu
  • Chao Chen


Original languageEnglish
Article number9027113
Pages (from-to)2563-2576
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number5
Online published6 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


A multifactorial evolutionary algorithm (MFEA) is a recently proposed algorithm for evolutionary multitasking, which optimizes multiple optimization tasks simultaneously. With the design of knowledge transfer among different tasks, MFEA has demonstrated the capability to outperform its single-task counterpart in terms of both convergence speed and solution quality. In MFEA, the knowledge transfer across tasks is realized via the crossover between solutions that possess different skill factors. This crossover is thus essential to the performance of MFEA. However, we note that the present MFEA and most of its existing variants only employ a single crossover for knowledge transfer, and fix it throughout the evolutionary search process. As different crossover operators have a unique bias in generating offspring, the appropriate configuration of crossover for knowledge transfer in MFEA is necessary toward robust search performance, for solving different problems. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, there is no effort being conducted on the adaptive configuration of crossovers in MFEA for knowledge transfer, and this article thus presents an attempt to fill this gap. In particular, here, we first investigate how different types of crossover affect the knowledge transfer in MFEA on both single-objective (SO) and multiobjective (MO) continuous optimization problems. Furthermore, toward robust and efficient multitask optimization performance, we propose a new MFEA with adaptive knowledge transfer (MFEA-AKT), in which the crossover operator employed for knowledge transfer is self-adapted based on the information collected along the evolutionary search process. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed method, comprehensive empirical studies on both SO and MO multitask benchmarks have been conducted. The experimental results show that the proposed MFEA-AKT is able to identify the appropriate knowledge transfer crossover for different optimization problems and even at different optimization stages along the search, which thus leads to superior or competitive performances when compared to the MFEAs with fixed knowledge transfer crossover operators.

Research Area(s)

  • Adaptive knowledge transfer, evolutionary multitasking, multifactorial evolutionary algorithm (MFEA)

Citation Format(s)

Toward Adaptive Knowledge Transfer in Multifactorial Evolutionary Computation. / Zhou, Lei; Feng, Liang; Tan, Kay Chen; Zhong, Jinghui; Zhu, Zexuan; Liu, Kai; Chen, Chao.

In: IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, Vol. 51, No. 5, 9027113, 05.2021, p. 2563-2576.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review