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- Swarm Intelligence Optimization Algorithms and Their Application
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PROFESOR

ADAM NIECHAJOWICZ

FERNANDO LARRAINZAR

207700

ANT COLONY SYSTEM- POSSIBILITY OF APPLICATION IN MANUFACTURING PROBLEM

11/DECEMBER/2012

A Swarm intelligence is a relatively new approach to problem solving that takes inspiration from

the social behaviors of insects and of other animals. In particular, ants have inspired a number of

methods and techniques among which the most studied and the most successful is the general

purpose optimization technique known as ant colony optimization.

Ant colony optimization (ACO) takes inspiration from the foraging behavior of some ant species.

These ants deposit pheromone on the ground in order to mark some favorable path that should

be followed by other members of the colony. Ant colony optimization exploits a similar

mechanism for solving optimization problems.

The goal of this presentation is to introduce ant colony optimization and to survey its most notable

applications. Section I provides some background information on the foraging behavior of ants.

Section II describes ant colony optimization and its main variants. Section three

I Biological Inspiration

The original idea comes from observing the exploitation of food resources among ants, in which

ants individually limited cognitive abilities have collectively been able to find the shortest path

between a food source and the nest.

1. The first ant finds the food source (F), via any way (a), then returns to the nest (N), leaving

behind a trail pheromone (b)

2. Ants indiscriminately follow four possible ways, but the strengthening of the runway makes

it more attractive as the shortest route.

3. Ants take the shortest route; long portions of other ways lose their trail pheromones.

In a series of experiments on a colony of ants with a choice between two unequal length paths

leading to a source of food, biologists have observed that ants tended to use the shortest route.

A model explaining this behaviour is as follows:

1. An ant (called "blitz") runs more or less at random around the colony;

2. If it discovers a food source, it returns more or less directly to the nest, leaving in its path a

trail of pheromone;

3. These pheromones are attractive; nearby ants will be inclined to follow, more or less

directly, the track;

4. Returning to the colony, these ants will strengthen the route;

5. If there are two routes to reach the same food source then, in a given amount of time, the

shorter one will be traveled by more ants than the long route;

6. The short route will be increasingly enhanced, and therefore become more attractive;

7. The long route will eventually disappear because pheromones are volatile;

8. Eventually, all the ants have determined and therefore "chosen" the shortest route.

Section II

Ant Colony Optimization (ACO)

ACO is a class of algorithms, whose first member, called Ant System, was initially proposed by

Colorni, Dorigo and Maniezzo. The main underlying idea, loosely inspired by the behavior of

real ants, is that of a parallel search over several constructive computational threads based on

local problem data and on a dynamic memory structure containing information on the quality

of previously obtained result. The collective behavior emerging from the interaction of the

different search threads has proved effective in solving combinatorial optimization (CO)

problems.

Given this, the functioning of an ACO algorithm can be summarized as follows. A set of

computational concurrent and asynchronous agents (a colony of ants) moves through states of

the problem corresponding to partial solutions of the problem to solve. They move by applying

a stochastic local decision policy based on two parameters, called trails and attractiveness. By

moving, each ant incrementally constructs a solution to the problem. When an ant completes

a solution, or during the construction phase, the ant evaluates the solution and modifies the

trail value on the components used in its solution. This pheromone information will direct the

search of the future ants. Furthermore, an ACO algorithm includes two more mechanisms:

trail evaporation and, optionally, daemon actions. Trail evaporation decreases all trail values

over time, in order to avoid unlimited accumulation of trails over some component. Daemon

actions can be used to implement centralized actions which cannot be performed by single

ants, such as the invocation of a local optimization procedure, or the update of global

information to be used to decide whether to bias the search process from a non-local

perspective.

More specifically, an ant is a simple computational agent, which iteratively constructs a

solution for the instance to solve. Partial problem solutions are seen as states. At the core of

the ACO algorithm lies a loop, where at each iteration, each ant moves (performs a step) from

a state to another one , corresponding to a more complete partial solution. That is, at each

step , each ant k computes a set A

to one of these in probability. The probability distribution is specified as follows. For ant k, the

probability p

The attractiveness of the move, as computed by some heuristic indicating the a priori

desirability of that move;

The trail level of the move, indicating how proficient it has been in the past to make that

particular move: it represents therefore an a posteriori indication of the desirability of that

move.

Example

Work scheduling. Given a set of machines and jobs, wherein each job is an ordered sequence

of assembly operations, the problem is to allocate operations at time intervals such that the

maximum time for determination of all operations is minimized, with the restriction that no

two jobs can be processed on the same machine at the same time.

Bibliography:

1. M. Dorigo, Ant colony optimization web page,

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/mdorigo/ACO/ACO.html.

2. N. Ascheuer, Hamiltonian path problems in the on-line optimization of flexible

manufacturing systems. Ph.D.Thesis, Technische Universitt Berlin, Germany, 1995

3. M. E. Bergen, Canstraint-based assembly line sequencing, Lecture Notes in Computer

Science, 2001.

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