Population diversity plays an important role in the evolutionary dynamics of genetic programming (GP). In this paper we use structural and semantic similarity measures to investigate the evolution of diversity in three GP algorithmic flavors: standard GP, offspring selection GP (OS-GP), and age-layered population structure GP (ALPS-GP). Empirical measurements on two symbolic regression benchmark problems reveal important differences between the dynamics of the tested configurations. In standard GP, after an initial decrease, population diversity remains almost constant until the end of the run. The higher variance of the phenotypic similarity values suggests that small changes on individual genotypes have significant effects on their corresponding phenotypes. By contrast, strict offspring selection within the OS-GP algorithm causes a significantly more pronounced diversity loss at both genotypic and, in particular, phenotypic levels. The pressure for adaptive change increases phenotypic robustness in the face of genotypic perturbations, leading to less genotypic variability on the one hand, and very low phenotypic diversity on the other hand. Finally, the evolution of similarities in ALPS-GP follows a periodic pattern marked by the time interval when the bottom layer is reinitialized with new individuals.This pattern is easily noticed in the lower layers characterized by shorter migration intervals, and becomes less and less noticeable on the upper layers.
- Symbolic Regression
- Genetic Programming
- Population Dynamics
- Genetic and Phenotypic Diversity
- Offspring Selection