Semantic search-based genetic programming and the effect of intron deletion

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of semantics (in the sense of input-output behavior of solutions on training data) has been the subject of a noteworthy interest in the genetic programming (GP) research community over the past few years. In this paper, we present a new GP system that uses the concept of semantics to improve search effectiveness. It maintains a distribution of different semantic behaviors and biases the search toward solutions that have similar semantics to the best solutions that have been found so far. We present experimental evidence of the fact that the new semantics-based GP system outperforms the standard GP and the well-known bacterial GP on a set of test functions, showing particularly interesting results for noncontinuous (i.e., generally harder to optimize) test functions. We also observe that the solutions generated by the proposed GP system often have a larger size than the ones returned by standard GP and bacterial GP and contain an elevated number of introns, i.e., parts of code that do not have any effect on the semantics. Nevertheless, we show that the deletion of introns during the evolution does not affect the performance of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6476653
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Generalization
  • genetic programming (GP)
  • introns
  • semantics


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