Workshop on Real-World Problems@GECCO 2014

The 2nd workshop on Real-World Problem and Problem Understanding was held at GECCO 2014 in Vancouver. The workshop offered a mixed programme of invited talks,  peer-reviewed paper presentations and a demo paper, focusing on various aspects of tackling real-world problems with meta-heuristic algorithms.

The workshop opened with a talk by Prof. Darrell Whitley from Colorado State University, drawing on his many years of experience in the field to discuss Why Are There Not More Applications of Evolutionary Algorithms? Darrel highlighted a number of factors, highlighting in the main the gap between the types of problems typically solved by academics and the complex, constrained nature of real-world problems.

This was followed by two talks from authors of accepted papers:

  • A Comparison of Antenna Placement Algorithms, Abhinav Jauhri, Jason D. Lohn, Derek S. Linden
  • Hyper-Heuristic Genetic Algorithm for Solving Frequency Assignment Problem in TD-SCDMA , Chao Yang, Shuming Peng, Bin Jiang, Lei Wang, Renfa Li

 Dr. Anna Esparcia-Alcazar, head of R&D at S2-Grupo provided an entertaining view from an industry perspective, illustrating her talk with a variety of anecdotes and advice gleaned from working with a company providing solutions to optimisation problems to SMEs. Her talk Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Computational Intelligence in the SME illustrated some of the ups and downs of working with a company, not all of them in the control of the meta-heuristic designer!

The workshop concluded with a demo and talk by Prof. Emma Hart, describing work recently undertaken with a company to develop an optimisation algorithm aimed at employee scheduling and routing, i.e. allocating jobs to workers and additionally routing them around the job, accounting for service-completition deadlines and maximising efficiency. An interactive GUI that enable the fitness function to be altered during the course of a run was demonstrated during the talk.

All workshop papers are available in the GECCO companion proceedings.