Automated Selection of Appropriate Pheromone Representations in Ant Colony Optimisation

James Montgomery, Marcus Randall, Tim Hendtlass

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


nt Colony Optimisation (ACO) is a constructive meta­heuristic that uses an analogue of ant trail pheromones to learn about good features of solutions. ACO implementations are typically tailored in an ad hoc manner to suit particular problems. Critically, the phero­mone representation for a particula1· problem is usually chosen intuitively rather than by following any systematic process. In some representations, distinct solutions appea1· multiple times, increasing the effective size of the search space and potentially misleading ants as to the true learned value of those solutions. In this paper, we present a novel system for automatically generating appropriate parsimonious pheromone represen­tations based on the characteristics of the problem model that ensures tmique pheromone representation of solutions. This is the first stage in the development of a generalised ACO system that may be applied to a wide range of problems with little or no modification. However, the sys­tem we propose may be used in the development of any problem-specific ACO algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australian Conference on Artificial Life: ACAL 2003
EditorsHussein A. Abbass, Janet Wiles
PublisherUniversity of New South Wales
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)0975152807
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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