GeneHunter is a powerful software
solution for optimization problems which utilizes a state-of-the-art
genetic algorithm methodology. GeneHunter includes an Excel Add-In
which allows the user to run an optimization problem from Microsoft
Excel, as well as a Dynamic Link Library of genetic algorithm
functions that may be called from programming languages such as
Microsoft® Visual Basic or C.
GeneHunter solves optimization problems in the same way.
It will create a population of possible solutions to the problem.
The individuals in this population will carry chromosomes which are
the values of variables of the problem.
GeneHunter actually solves your problem by allowing the less fit
individuals in the population to die, and selectively breeding the
most fit individuals. The process is called selection, as in
selection of the fittest. GeneHunter takes two individuals and mates
them (crossover), the offspring of the mated pair will receive some
of the characteristics of the mother and some of the father.
In nature, offspring often have some slight abnormalities, called
mutations. Usually, these mutations are disabling and inhibit the
ability of the offspring to survive, but once in a while, they
improve the fitness of the individual. GeneHunter occasionally
causes mutations to occur.
As GeneHunter mates fit individuals and mutates some, the population
undergoes a generation change. The population will then consist of
offspring plus a few of the older individuals which GeneHunter
allows to survive to the next generation. These are the most fit in
the population, and we will want to keep them breeding. These most
fit individuals are called elite individuals. After dozens or even
hundreds of "generations," a population eventually emerges wherein
the individuals will solve the problem very well. In fact, the most
fit (elite) individual will be an optimum or close to optimum
GeneHunter works in two ways. It's callable from Microsoft Excel
spreadsheets, and accessible via function calls in a Dynamic Link
Library (DLL). The function calls -- unique to GeneHunter -- are
similar to the neural network function calls in NeuroWindows, Ward
System Group's neural net DLL for Windows.
After GeneHunter mates fit individuals and mutates some,
the population undergoes a generation change. At this point, the
population consists of offspring plus a few of the older individuals
which GeneHunter allows to survive to the next "generation" because
they are the fittest in the population. These fittest individuals
are called elite individuals.
After dozens or even hundreds of "generations", a population
eventually emerges whose individuals solve the target problem very
well. In fact, the fittest (elite) individual will be an optimum or
close to optimum solution.
The processes of selection, crossover, and mutation are called
genetic operators. GeneHunter has several other genetic operators.
One, diversity, allows additional but very slight mutations of the
population. Another, extinction, is like a catastrophe that destroys
most of the population (all but the elite individuals) and refreshes
it with a large set of new individuals. GeneHunter sometimes causes
extinction when so much inbreeding takes place that no offspring are
fitter than their parents for many generations. (Extinction is only
available in the DLL form of GeneHunter, not in the Excel
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