A Theoretical Assessment of Solution Quality in Evolutionary Algorithms for the Knapsack Problem

Jun He, Boris Mitavskiy, Yuren Zhou

Evolutionary algorithms are well suited for solving the knapsack problem. Some empirical studies claim that evolutionary algorithms can produce good solutions to the 0-1 knapsack problem. Nonetheless, few rigorous investigations address the quality of solutions that evolutionary algorithms may produce for the knapsack problem. The current paper focuses on a theoretical investigation of three types of (N+1) evolutionary algorithms that exploit bitwise mutation, truncation selection, plus different repair methods for the 0-1 knapsack problem. It assesses the solution quality in terms of the approximation ratio. Our work indicates that the solution produced by pure strategy and mixed strategy evolutionary algorithms is arbitrarily bad. Nevertheless, the evolutionary algorithm using helper objectives may produce 1/2-approximation solutions to the 0-1 knapsack problem.

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