Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evolutionary computation offers flexibility, insight

03.08.2011
Algorithm searches for models that best explain experimental data

A Franklin University professor recently developed an evolutionary computation approach that offers researchers the flexibility to search for models that can best explain experimental data derived from many types of applications, including economics.

To test the algorithm underlying that approach, Esmail Bonakdarian, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Computing Sciences and Mathematics at Franklin, leveraged the Glenn IBM 1350 Opteron cluster, the flagship system of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC).

“Every day researchers are confronted by large sets of survey or experimental data and faced with the challenge of ‘making sense’ of this collection and turning it into useful knowledge,” Bonakdarian said. “This data usually consists of a series of observations over a number of dimensions, and the objective is to establish a relationship between the variable of interest and other variables, for purposes of prediction or exploration.”

Bonakdarian employed his evolutionary computation approach to analyze data from two well-known, classical “public goods” problems from economics: When goods are provided to a larger community without required individual contributions, it often results in “free-riding.” However, people also tend to show a willingness to cooperate and sacrifice for the good of the group.

“While OSC resources are more often used to make discoveries in fields such as physics, chemistry or the biosciences, or to solve complex industrial and manufacturing challenges, it is always fascinating to see how our research clients employ our supercomputers to address issues in broader fields of interest, such as we find in Dr. Bonakdarian’s work in economics and evolutionary computing,” said Ashok Krishnamurthy, interim co-executive director of the center.

“Evolutionary algorithms are inherently suitable for parallel or distributed execution,” Bonakdarian said. “Given the right platform, this would allow for the simultaneous evaluation of many candidate solutions, i.e., models, in parallel, greatly speeding up the work.”

Regression analysis has been the traditional tool for finding and establishing statistically significant relationships in research projects, such as for the economics examples Bonakdarian chose. As long as the number of independent variables is relatively small, or the experimenter has a fairly clear idea of the possible underlying relationship, it is feasible to derive the best model using standard software packages and methodologies.

However, Bonakdarian cautioned that if the number of independent variables is large, and there is no intuitive sense about the possible relationship between these variables and the dependent variable, “the experimenter may have to go on an automated ‘fishing expedition’ to discover the important and relevant independent variables.”

As an alternative, Bonakdarian suggests using an evolutionary algorithm as a way to “evolve” the best minimal subset with the largest explanatory value.

“This approach offers more flexibility as the user can specify the exact search criteria on which to optimize the model,” he said. “The user can then examine a ranking of the top models found by the system. In addition to these measures, the algorithm can also be tuned to limit the number of variables in the final model. We believe that this ability to direct the search provides flexibility to the analyst and results in models that provide additional insights.”

Bonakdarian recently presented a paper that describes this study, The Use of Evolutionary Algorithms in the Analysis of Economics Experiments, at The Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference of Genetic and Evolutionary Methods (GEM'11) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Jamie Abel | Ohio Supercomputer Center
Further information:
http://www.osc.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Researchers catch extreme waves with higher-resolution modeling
15.02.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>