The Multi-Parent Biased Random-Key Genetic Algorithm with Implict Path Relink - Julia version
Author ceandrade
14 Stars
Updated Last
9 Months Ago
Started In
October 2019

BrkgaMpIpr.jl - Julia version

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BrkgaMpIpr.jl provides a very easy-to-use framework for the Multi-Parent Biased Random-Key Genetic Algorithm with Implict Path Relink (BRKGA-MP-IPR). Assuming that your have a decoder to your problem, we can setup, run, and extract the value of the best solution in less than 5 commands (obvisiously, you may need few other lines fo code to do a proper test).

This Julia version provides a framework as fast as C/C++, as easy-to-code as Python, and it is much cheaper (indeed, free) than Matlab. Unit and coverage tests are fully implemented, and all pseudo-random test data were carefully crafted to guarantee reproducibility (although it is possible that some tests fail because of different versions of the random number generator). Therefore, BrkgaMpIpr.jl should be suitable to be used in production environments.

If Julia is not suitable to you, we may find useful the C++ version We are also developing a Python version which is in its earlier stages. At this moment, we have no plans to implement the BRKGA-MP-IPR in other languages such as Java or C#. But if you want to do so, you are must welcome. But please, keep the API as close as possible to the C++ API (or Julia API in case you decide go C), and use the best coding and documentation practices of your chosen language/framework.

If you are not familiar with how BRKGA works, take a look on Standard BRKGA and Multi-Parent BRKGA. In the future, we will provide a Prime on BRKGA-MP section.

💻 Installation and tests

ℹ️ NOTE: BrkgaMpIpr.jl was developed using Julia 1.2, but it should work fine on any Julia >= 1.0. Versions <= 0.6 are not supported.|

BrkgaMpIpr.jl can be installed using the Julia package manager. From the Julia REPL, type ] to enter the Pkg REPL mode and run

pkg> add BrkgaMpIpr

Or, just use Pkg directly:

julia> import Pkg; Pkg.add("BrkgaMpIpr")

BrkgaMpIpr.jl also provides a thorough unit testing that aims to harden and make the code ready for production environments. From Pkg REPL, just run

pkg> test BrkgaMpIpr

ℹ️ NOTE: The tests take about 10 minutes, mainly because the permutation path relink.

Although BrkgaMpIpr should work fine on Julia >= 1.2, some tests can fail. This issue occurs because BrkgaMpIpr uses the JLD package to save the population and results. JLD uses the HDF5 package, which produces slightly different binaries of different Julia versions. Although the tests may fail in those cases, BrkgaMpIpr is functional for regular usage. In the table below, you can see the testing fails due to JDL binary incompatibility.

Julia version Windows Linux Mac OS X

⚠️ Warning: Some timing tests may fail when carried out on virtual machines and containers. The reason is that in such environments, the code runs much slower than on bare metal, and some control loops take much time to finish before the time stop. Usually, the difference is a few seconds, but it is enough to break some tests.

⚠️ Warning: It is a hard test to test algorithms that use random signals. In BrkgaMpIpr.jl, the tests are carefully designed to ensure repeatability. For that, we use the Mersenne Twister [1] [2] as our standard random generator number engine, particularly the version that comes with Julia. However, it may happen that such engine has slightly different implementations across platforms and, therefore, the tests may fail. The current version was tested on 64-bit platforms (Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and Windows 10).

Usage - TL;DR

The best way to keep it short is to look in the examples folder on the git repo. From main_minimal.jl, which solves the Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). This is a trimmed copy:

using BrkgaMpIpr


if length(ARGS) < 4
    println("Usage: julia main_minimal.jl <seed> <config-file> " *
            "<num-generations> <tsp-instance-file>")

seed = parse(Int64, ARGS[1])
configuration_file = ARGS[2]
num_generations = parse(Int64, ARGS[3])
instance_file = ARGS[4]

instance = TSP_Instance(instance_file)

brkga_data, control_params = build_brkga(
    instance, tsp_decode!, MINIMIZE, seed, instance.num_nodes,


evolve!(brkga_data, num_generations)

best_cost = get_best_fitness(brkga_data)
@show best_cost

You can identify the following basic steps:

  1. Create a data structure inherited from AbstractInstance to hold your input data. This object is passed to the decoder function (example tsp_instance.jl);

  2. Implement a decoder function. This function translates a chromosome (array of numbers in the interval [0,1]) to a solution for your problem. The decoder must return the solution value or cost to be used as fitness by BRKGA (example tsp_decoder.jl);

  3. Load the instance and other relevant data;

  4. Use build_brkga to create a BrkgaData that represents the internal state of the BRKGA-MP-IPR algorithm;

  5. Use initialize! to init the BRKGA state;

  6. Call evolve! to optimize;

  7. Call get_best_fitness and/or get_best_chromosome to retrieve the best solution.

main_minimal.jl provides a very minimal example to understand the necessary steps to use the BRKGA-MP-IPR framework. However, main_complete.jl provides a full-featured code, handy for scientific use, such as experimentation and paper writing. This code allows fine-grained control of the optimization, shows several features of BRKGA-MP-IPR such as the resets, chromosome injection, and others. It also logs all optimization steps, creating outputs easy to be parsed. You should use this code for serious business and experimentation.

📚 Tutorial and full documentation

Check out the complete tutorial and API documentation:

✒️ License and Citing

BRKGA-MP-IPR uses a permissive BSD-like license and it can be used as it pleases you. And since this framework is also part of an academic effort, we kindly ask you to remember to cite the originating paper of this work. Indeed, Clause 4 estipulates that "all publications, softwares, or any other materials mentioning features or use of this software (as a whole package or any parts of it) and/or the data used to test it must cite the following article explicitly:":

C.E. Andrade. R.F. Toso, J.F. Gonçalves, M.G.C. Resende. The Multi-Parent Biased Random-key Genetic Algorithm with Implicit Path Relinking. European Jornal of Operational Research, volume 289, number 1, pages 17–30, 2021. DOI

Check it out the full license.

✏️ Contributing

Contribution guidelines for this project

Used By Packages

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