Scripting and Framework Integration in Heuristic Optimization Environments


A. Beham, J. Karder, G. K. Kronberger, S. Wagner, M. Kommenda, A. Scheibenpflug - Scripting and Framework Integration in Heuristic Optimization Environments - Companion Publication of the 2014 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO'14 Companion, Vancouver, Kanada, 2014, pp. 1109-1116


Rapid prototyping and testing of new ideas has been a major argument for evolutionary computation frameworks. These frameworks facilitate the application of evolutionary computation and allow experimenting with new and modified algorithms and problems by building on existing, well tested code. However, one could argue, that despite the many frameworks of the metaheuristics community, software packages such as MATLAB, GNU Octave, Scilab, or RStudio are quite popular. These software packages however are associated more closely with numerical analysis rather than evolutionary computation. In contrast to typical evolutionary computation frameworks which provide standard implementations of algorithms and problems, these popular frameworks provide a direct programming environment for the user and several helpful functions and mathematical operations. The user does not need to use traditional development tools such as a compiler or linker, but can implement, execute, and visualize his ideas directly within the environment. HeuristicLab has become a popular environment for heuristic optimization over the years, but has not been recognized as a programming environment so far. In this article we will describe new scripting capabilities created in HeuristicLab and give information on technical details of the implementation. Additionally, we show how the programming interface can be used to integrate further metaheuristic optimization frameworks in HeuristicLab.