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An analysis of massively distributed evolutionary algorithms

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6 Author(s)

Computational science is placing new demands on optimization algorithms as the size of data sets and the computational complexity of scientific models continue to increase. As these complex models have many local minima, evolutionary algorithms (EAs) are very useful for quickly finding optimal solutions in these challenging search spaces. In addition to the complex search spaces involved, calculating the objective function can be extremely demanding computationally. Because of this, distributed computation is a necessity. In order to address these computational demands, top-end distributed computing systems are surpassing hundreds of thousands of computing hosts; and as in the case of Internet based volunteer computing systems, they can also be highly heterogeneous and faulty. This work examines asynchronous strategies for distributed EAs using simulated computing environments. Results show that asynchronous EAs can scale to hundreds of thousands of computing hosts while being highly resilient to heterogeneous and faulty computing environments, something not possible for traditional distributed EAs which require synchronization. While the simulation not only provides insight as to how asynchronous EAs perform on distributed computing environments with different latencies and heterogeneity, it also serves as a sanity check because live distributed systems require problems with high computation to communication ratios and traditional benchmark problems cannot be used for meaningful analysis due to their short computation times.

Published in:

Evolutionary Computation (CEC), 2010 IEEE Congress on

Date of Conference:

18-23 July 2010