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ACO

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Swarm intelligence

Collective system capable of accomplishing difficult tasks in

dynamic and varied environments without any external

guidance or control and with no central coordination.

Achieving a collective performance which could not

normally be achieved by an individual acting alone.

Constituting a natural model

distributed problem solving.

particularly

suited

to

Swarm Algorithms

Inspiration from swarm intelligence has led to some

highly successful optimisation algorithms.

Ant Colony (-based) Optimisation a way to solve

optimisation problems based on the way that ants indirectly

communicate directions to each other.

Particle Swarm Optimisation a different way to solve

optimisation problems, based on the swarming behaviour of

several kinds of organisms.

Optimization

General optimization problem:

given f:X,

find xX such that f(x) is minimum

Given a graph with two specified vertices A and B, find a shortest path

shortest path problem, polynomial

from A to B.

Given a set of cities and pairwise distances, find a shortest tour.

traveling salesperson problem,

Given a sequence of amino acids of a protein, find the structure of the

protein.

protein structure prediction problem,

Ant Colony

Optimization

Real ants

Stigmergy

Autocatalyzation

Ant System

Ant Colony System

Overview

Ant

artificial systems that take inspiration

from the behavior of real ant colonies

and which are used to solve discrete

optimization problems.

-Source: ACO website, http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~mdorigo/ACO/about.html

In the real world, ants (initially) wander randomly, and upon finding food

return to their colony while laying down pheromone trails. If other ants

find such a path, they are likely not to keep traveling at random, but instead

follow the trail laid by earlier ants, returning and reinforcing it if they

eventually find food

Over time, however, the pheromone trail starts to evaporate, thus reducing

its attractive strength. The more time it takes for an ant to travel down the

path and back again, the more time the pheromones have to evaporate.

A short path, by comparison, gets marched over faster, and thus the

pheromone density remains high

Pheromone evaporation has also the advantage of avoiding the

convergence to a locally optimal solution. If there were no evaporation at

all, the paths chosen by the first ants would tend to be excessively

attractive to the following ones. In that case, the exploration of the solution

space would be constrained.

Thus, when one ant finds a good (short) path from the colony to a food

source, other ants are more likely to follow that path, and such positive

feedback eventually leaves all the ants following a single path.

The idea of the ant colony algorithm is to mimic this behavior with

"simulated ants" walking around the search space representing the

problem to be solved.

Ant colony optimization algorithms have been used to produce nearoptimal solutions to the traveling salesman problem.

They have an advantage over simulated annealing and genetic

algorithm approaches when the graph may change dynamically. The ant

colony algorithm can be run continuously and can adapt to changes in

real time.

This is of interest in network routing and urban transportation systems.

ACO Defined

A heuristic optimization method for shortest path and

other optimization problems which borrows ideas

from biological ants.

Based on the fact that ants are able to find shortest

route between their nest and source of food.

Shortest Route

Shortest route is found using pheromone

trails which ants deposit whenever they

travel, as a form of indirect communication

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

source, they randomly rotate around an obstacle

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

for the right and left directions

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

they carry the food and start returning back, following their

pheromone trails, and still depositing more pheromone.

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

returning back to the nest with food as this path will have the

most deposited pheromone

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

For the same reason, new ants that later starts out from

the nest to find food will also choose the shortest path.

Ant foraging Co-operative search by

pheromone trails

process prompts all ants to choose the shorter path

ant.

path!

coin.

Stigmergic?

Stigmergy, a term coined by French biologist

Pierre-Paul Grasse, is interaction through the

environment.

Two individuals interact indirectly when one of

them modifies the environment and the other

responds to the new environment at a later time.

This is stigmergy.

Stigmergy in Ants

Ants are behaviorally unsophisticated, but collectively they

can perform complex tasks.

Ants have highly developed sophisticated sign-based

stigmergy

They communicate using pheromones;

They lay trails of pheromone that can be followed by other ants.

one to the NW, one to the NE, but the NW one is stronger

which one will it follow?

Pheromone Trails

Individual ants lay pheromone trails while travelling from

the nest, to the nest or possibly in both directions.

The pheromone trail gradually evaporates over time.

But pheromone trail strength accumulate with multiple

ants using path.

Nest

Food source

Autocatalyzation

What is autocatalytic behavior?

Pheromone Trails

Initial state:

no ants

t=0

t=1

30 ants

D

d=1

15 ants

d = 0.5

10 ants

20 ants

= 30

= 15

C

= 15 = 30

d = 0.5

d=1

15 ants

30 ants

15 ants

15 ants

10 ants

30 ants

20 ants

30 ants

(a)

(b)

(c)

Autocatalyzation

This is why ACO algorithms are

called autocatalytic positive

feedback algorithms!

Ant Colony

Optimization

The Ant System (AS)

Basic Ideas

Ants are agents that:

Move along between nodes in a graph.

They choose where to go based on pheromone strength (and maybe other

things)

An ants path represents a specific candidate solution.

When an ant has finished a solution, pheromone is laid on its path, according

to quality of solution.

This pheromone trail affects behaviour of other ants by `stigmergy

Initially, random levels of pheromone are scattered on the edges

A

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

An ant is placed at a random node

A

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

The ant decides where to go from that node,

based on probabilities

A

calculated from:

- pheromone strengths,

- next-hop distances.

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

The ant is now at C, and has a `tour memory = {B, C} so he cannot

visit B or C again.

A

B

Again, he decides next hop

(from those allowed) based

on pheromone strength

and distance;

suppose he chooses

CD

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

The ant is now at D, and has a `tour memory = {B, C, D}

There is only one place he can go now:

A

B

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

So, he has nearly finished his tour, having gone over the links:

BC, CD, and DA.

A

B

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

So, he has nearly finished his tour, having gone over the links:

BC, CD, and DA. AB is added to complete the round trip.

A

B

is increased, in line with the

fitness of that tour.

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

A

is decreased a little, to model

decay of trail strength over

time

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

We start again, with another ant in a random position.

A

Next , the actual algorithm

and variants.

Pheromone

Ant

C

AB: 10, AC: 10, AD, 30,

D

BC, 40,

CD 20

[a simplified version with all essential details]

We have a TSP, with n cities.

1. We place some ants at each city. Each ant then does this:

It makes a complete tour of the cities, coming back to its starting city, using a

transition rule to decide which links to follow. By this rule, it chooses each

next-city at random, but biased partly by the pheromone levels existing at each

path, and biased partly by heuristic information.

Updating occurs.

The current pheromone levels on all links are reduced (I.e. pheromone levels

decay over time).

Pheromone is lain (belatedly) by each ant as follows: it places pheromone on all

links of its tour, with strength depending on how good the tour was.

Then we go back to 1 and repeat the whole process many times, until we reach a

termination criterion.

reference to the TSP is illustrated below:

ACO algorithm

Step 1: Represent the solution space by a construction graph

Step 2: Initialize ACO parameters

Step 3: Generate random solutions from each ants random walk

Step 4: Update pheromone intensities

Step 5: Goto Step 3, and repeat until convergence or a stopping condition is satisfied.

ACO algorithm

The process starts by generating m random ants (solution).

An ant

represents a solution string, with a

selected value for each variable.

An ant is evaluated according to an objective function.

Accordingly, pheromone concentration associated with

each possible route( variable value) is changed in a way to

reinforce good solutions as follows:

ij : Local heuristic of combination (i,j)

: Relative importance of pheromone trail

q0

exploitation versus exploration

: Trail persistence

46

Pij

ACO algorithm

above.

Pseudo code for ACO is shown below:

Pheromone Concentration

Calculations

ACO Characteristics

Natural algorithm since it is based on the behavior of real ants in establishing paths from

their colony to source of food and back.

independently and without a supervisor.

Cooperative since each agent chooses a path on the basis of the information, pheromone trails

laid by the other agents, which have previously selected the same path. This cooperative

behavior is also autocatalytic, i.e., it provides a positive feedback, since the probability of

choosing a path increases with the number of agents that previously chose that path.

Versatile that it can be applied to similar versions of the same problem; for example, there is a

straightforward extension from the traveling salesman problem (TSP) to the asymmetric

traveling salesman problem (ATSP).

Robust that it can be applied with minimal changes to other combinatorial optimization

problems such as quadratic assignment problem (QAP) and the jobshop scheduling problem

(JSP).

Similarities

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

are composed of a population, or colony of independent individual agents.

They globally cooperate in order to find a good solution to the task under

consideration

Pheromone trail and stigmergyLike real ants, artificial ants change some

aspects of their environment while walking. Real ants deposit a chemical

substance called pheromone on the visited state. Artificial ants will change

some numerical information of the problem state, locally stored, when that

state is visited.

Local moves and the shortest path searching both finds the shortest path

between the origin and the destination.

Transition policyBoth real ants and artificial ones will build solutions by

applying decision making procedures to move through adjacent states.

Deposited amount of pheromoneAmount of pheromone that an artificial

ant will deposit is mostly a function of the quality of the discovered solution.

In nature, some ants behave in a similar way, the deposited amount of

pheromone is highly dependent on the quality of the discovered food source.

Differences

1.

Artificial ants live in a discrete world. All their moves are jumps from one

discrete state to another adjacent one.

2.

Artificial ants have memory, they could remember states that have been

visited already.

3.

artificial ants. Timing in pheromone laying is problem dependent and often

does not have similarities with the real ants pheromone deposit methodology.

4.

with some additional capabilities that cannot be found in real ant colonies.

Most AS contains some local optimization techniques to improve solutions

developed by ants.

algorithm

The ant colony optimization (ACO) is a meta-heuristic approach

(problem-independent techniques, not greedy, even accept a temporary deterioration of

the solution, for example, the simulated-annealing technique, which allows them to

explore more thoroughly the solution space and thus to get a hopefully better solution)

behavior of the social insects, especially the ants.

ACO algorithms belong to the class of model-based search (MBS)

algorithm.

Different ant colony optimization algorithms have been proposed. The

original ant colony optimization algorithm is known as Ant System

and was proposed in the early 90s.

Table gives a list of successful variants of Ant Colony Optimization

Algorithms.

Figure gives a narrow overview on Ant Colony Optimization

Algorithms.

ACO is a class of algorithms, whose first member, called Ant System,

was initially proposed by Colorni, Dorigo and Maniezzo.

been proposed.

1. Ant System,

2. Ant Colony System (ACS), and

3. MAX-MIN Ant System (MMAS)

First major improvement over Ant System

Differences with Ant System:

1. Decision Rule - Pseudorandom proportional rule

2. Local Pheromone Update

3. Best only offline Pheromone Update

depends on a random variable q uniformly distributed

over [0, 1], and a parameter q0.

component that maximizes the product ilil is chosen,

otherwise the same equation as in Ant System is used.

after each step.

ij= (1 ) ij + 0

where

(0, 1) is the pheromone decay coefficient

0 is the initial value of the pheromone

ij (1 ) ij + ij best

Where

1/Lbest if best ant k travels on edge i, j

ij best =

0 otherwise

Lbest can be set to the length of the best tour found in the

current iteration or the best solution found since the start

of the algorithm.

Differences with Ant System:

Best only offline Pheromone Update

Min and Max values of the pheromone are explicitly

limited

ij is constrained between min and max (explicitly set by

algorithm designer).

After pheromone update, ij is set to max if ij > max and to

min if ij < min

Traveling Salesman Problem, where a salesman must find the shortest route by

which he can visit a given number of cities, each city exactly once.

locations so that the costs of the assignment are minimized.

Job-Shop Scheduling Problem, where a given set of machines and set of job

operations must be assigned to time intervals in such a way that no two jobs are

processed at the same time on the same machine and the maximum time of

completion of all operations is minimized.

Vehicle Routing Problem, the objective is to find minimum cost vehicle routes

such that:

(a) Every customer is visited exactly once by exactly one vehicle;

(b) For every vehicle the total demand does not exceed the vehicle capacity;

(c) The total tour length of each vehicle does not exceed a given limit;

(d) Every vehicle starts and ends its tour at the same position.

alphabeta string of minimal length that is a super sequence of each string of the

given set has to be found.

that the number of colors used is minimal.

Hamiltonian path 2 on a directed graph with weights on the arcs and on the nodes,

subject to precedent constraints among the nodes.

follow the same path selected by a preliminary setup phase.

Connectionless Network Routing where data packets of the same session can

follow different paths (Internet-type networks).

Advantages of ACO

Inherent parallelism

Positive Feedback accounts for rapid discovery of

good solutions

Efficient for Traveling Salesman Problem and similar

problems

Can be used in dynamic applications (adapts to

changes such as new distances, etc)

Disadvantages of ACO

Theoretical analysis is difficult

Sequences of random decisions (not independent)

Probability distribution changes by iteration

Research is experimental rather than theoretical

Time to convergence uncertain (but convergence is

gauranteed!)

State Transition Probability

Pij

( ij ) ( ij )

)

(

)

il il

lU

NA

k 1

Q,

k

ij

Q

d ij

k

ij

Q

or k

L

k

ij

71

ASelite

NA

k 1

new

ij

ASrank

old

ij

e 1

r 1

r

ij

e

ij

Q

e e

L

e

ij

Q

(e r ) r

L

r

ij

72

arg max[( il ) ( il ) ]

lU

q q0

Exploitation

q q0

Exploration

( iv ) ( iv )

Piv

( il ) (il )

lU

Local Updating

(Online Updating)

Global Updating

(Offline Updating)

ijnew ijold (1 ) 0

73

Methodology

Max-Min Ant System (MMAS)

min ij max

ANTS

Pij

ij (1 ) ij

[

lU

new

ij

old

ij

il

(1 ) il ]

NA

k 1

k

ij

k

L

LB

ijk 0 (1

)

Lavg LB

74

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