Intelligent System Design Using Hyper-Heuristics

Nelishia Pillay


Determining the most appropriate search method or artificial intelligence technique to solve a problem is not always evident and usually requires implementation of the different approaches to ascertain this. In some instances a single approach may not be sufficient and hybridization of methods may be needed to find a solution. This process can be time consuming. The paper proposes the use of hyper-heuristics as a means of identifying which method or combination of approaches is needed to solve a problem. The research presented forms part of a larger initiative aimed at using hyper-heuristics to develop intelligent hybrid systems. As an initial step in this direction, this paper investigates this for classical artificial intelligence uninformed and informed search methods, namely depth first search, breadth first search, best first search, hill-climbing and the A* algorithm. The hyper-heuristic determines the search or combination of searches to use to solve the problem. An evolutionary algorithm hyper-heuristic is implemented for this purpose and its performance is evaluated in solving the 8-Puzzle, Towers of Hanoi and Blocks World problems. The hyper-heuristic employs a generational evolutionary algorithm which iteratively refines an initial population using tournament selection to select parents, which the mutation and crossover operators are applied to for regeneration. The hyper-heuristic was able to identify a search or combination of searches to produce solutions for the twenty 8-Puzzle, five Towers of Hanoi and five Blocks World problems. Furthermore, admissible solutions were produced for all problem instances.


Hyper-heuristics, evolutionary algorithms, algorithm design

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