The Problems You Give Us
You must implement four local random search algorithms. They are:
1. randomized hill climbing
2. simulated annealing
3. a genetic algorithm
You will then create (for sufficiently loose values of “create” including “steal”, though it’s fairly easy to
come up with simple problems on your own in this case) three optimization problem domains. For the
purpose of this assignment an “optimization problem” is just a fitness function one is trying to maximize
(as opposed to a cost function one is trying to minimize). This choice doesn’t make things easier or
harder, but picking one over the other makes things easier for us to grade.
Please note that the problems you create should be over discrete-valued parameter spaces. Bit strings
You will apply all four search techniques to these three optimization problems. The first problem should
highlight advantages of your genetic algorithm, the second of simulated annealing, and the third of
MIMIC. Be creative and thoughtful. It is not required that the problems be complicated or painful. They
can be simple. For example, the 4-peaks and k-color problems are rather straightforward, but illustrate
relative strengths rather neatly.
The Problems Given to You
In addition to analyzing discrete optimization problems, you will also use the first three algorithms to find
good weights for a neural network. In particular, you will use them instead of backprop for the neural
network you used in assignment #1 on at least one of the problems you created for assignment #1.
Notice that this assignment is about an optimization problem and about supervised learning problems.
That probably means that looking at only the loss or only the accuracy won’t tell you the whole story.
Luckily, you have already learned how to write an analysis on optimization problems and on supervised
learning problems; now you just have to integrate your knowledge.
Because we are nice, we will also let you know about some pitfalls you might run into:
The weights in a neural network are continuous and real-valued instead of discrete so you might
want to think a little bit about what it means to apply these sorts of algorithms in such a domain.
There are different loss and activation functions for NNs. If you use different libraries across your
assignments, you need to make sure those are the same. For example, if you used scikit-learn and
don’t modify the ABAGAIL example, they are not.
What to Turn In
You must submit:
1. A file named README.txt that contains instructions for running your code
2. a file named yourgtaccount-analysis.pdf that contains your writeup.
The file yourgtaccount-analysis.pdf should contain:
the results you obtained running the algorithms on the networks: why did you get the results you did?
what sort of changes might you make to each of those algorithms to improve performance? Feel free
to include any supporting graphs or tables. And by “feel free to”, of course, I mean “do”.
a description of your optimization problems, and why you feel that they are interesting and exercise
the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Think hard about this.
analyses of your results. Beyond answering why you got the results you did you should compare and
contrast the different algorithms. How fast were they in terms of wall clock time? Iterations? Which