Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) Algorithms

Ant colony optimization (ACO), or ant system (AS), is a class of metaheuristic optimization algorithms inspired by the emergent search behavior using pheromone trails in natural ants.

We present CGO-AS, a generalized ant system (AS) implemented in the framework of cooperative group optimization (CGO), to show the leveraged optimization with a mixed individual and social learning. Ant colony is a simple yet efficient natural system for understanding the effects of primary intelligence on optimization. However, existing AS algorithms are mostly focusing on their capability of using social heuristic cues while ignoring their individual learning. CGO can integrate the advantages of a cooperative group and a low-level algorithm portfolio design, and the agents of CGO can explore both individual and social search. In CGO-AS, each ant (agent) is added with an individual memory, and is implemented with a novel search strategy to use individual and social cues in a controlled proportion. The presented CGO-AS is therefore especially useful in exposing the power of the mixed individual and social learning for improving optimization. The optimization performance is tested with instances of the traveling salesman problem (TSP). The results prove that a cooperative ant group using both individual and social learning obtains a better performance than the systems solely using either individual or social learning. The best performance is achieved under the condition when agents use individual memory as their primary information source, and simultaneously use social memory as their searching guidance. In comparison with existing AS systems, CGO-AS retains a faster learning speed toward those higher-quality solutions, especially in the later learning cycles. The leverage in optimization by CGO-AS is highly possible due to its inherent feature of adaptively maintaining the population diversity in the individual memory of agents, and of accelerating the learning process with accumulated knowledge in the social memory.

  • Xiao-Feng Xie and Zun-Jing Wang. Cooperative group optimization with ants (CGO-AS): Leverage optimization with mixed individual and social learning. Applied Soft Computing, 50: 223-234, 2017. [PDF] [DOI] [Bibtex]
    Title = {Cooperative group optimization with ants (CGO-AS): Leverage optimization with mixed individual and social learning},
    Author = {Xiao-Feng Xie and Zun-Jing Wang},
    Journal = {Applied Soft Computing},
    Year = {2017},
    Pages = {223--234},
    Doi = {10.1016/j.asoc.2016.11.018},
    Volume = {50}

Posted on: Feb 26, 2017

Category : Research Software

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