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Estimation of distribution algorithms are evolutionary algorithms using probabilistic techniques instead of traditional genetic operators. Recently, the application of probabilistic techniques to program and function evolution has received increasing attention, and this approach promises to provide a strong alternative to the traditional genetic programming techniques. Although a probabilistic context-free grammar (PCFG) is a widely used model for probabilistic program evolution, a conventional PCFG is not suitable for estimating interactions among nodes because of the context freedom assumption. In this paper, we have proposed a new evolutionary algorithm named programming with annotated grammar estimation based on a PCFG with latent annotations, which allows this context freedom assumption to be weakened. By applying the proposed algorithm to several computational problems, it is demonstrated that our approach is markedly more effective at estimating building blocks than prior approaches.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2009