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In this paper, we try to improve the performance of the particle swarm optimizer by incorporating the linkage concept, which is an essential mechanism in genetic algorithms, and design a new linkage identification technique called dynamic linkage discovery to address the linkage problem in real-parameter optimization problems. Dynamic linkage discovery is a costless and effective linkage recognition technique that adapts the linkage configuration by employing only the selection operator without extra judging criteria irrelevant to the objective function. Moreover, a recombination operator that utilizes the discovered linkage configuration to promote the cooperation of particle swarm optimizer and dynamic linkage discovery is accordingly developed. By integrating the particle swarm optimizer, dynamic linkage discovery, and recombination operator, we propose a new hybridization of optimization methodologies called particle swarm optimization with recombination and dynamic linkage discovery (PSO-RDL). In order to study the capability of PSO-RDL, numerical experiments were conducted on a set of benchmark functions as well as on an important real-world application. The benchmark functions used in this paper were proposed in the 2005 institute of electrical and electronics engineers congress on evolutionary computation. The experimental results on the benchmark functions indicate that PSO-RDL can provide a level of performance comparable to that given by other advanced optimization techniques. In addition to the benchmark, PSO-RDL was also used to solve the economic dispatch (ED) problem for power systems, which is a real-world problem and highly constrained. The results indicate that PSO-RDL can successfully solve the ED problem for the three-unit power system and obtain the currently known best solution for the 40-unit system.