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Keywords: genetic algorithms, machine learning, Java, artificial intelligence

Title: Applied Evolutionary Algorithms in Java

Author: Robert Ghanea-Hercock

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0387955682

Media: Book, CD

Level: Introductory, intermediate

Verdict: Good introduction to applications of evolutionary algorithms

This succinct volume from Springer aims to provide an introduction to evolutionary algorithms (both genetic algorithms and genetic programming) from an application point of view, with specific emphasis on the use of the Java programming language. The latter emphasis marks out the book from other more general introductions to the subject, particularly as evolutionary algorithms are often perceived as computationally intensive and therefore requiring coding in fast compiled languages (typically C or C++).

The book begins with a brief survey of the field, combining both historical and biological perspectives before looking at more detail at genetic algorithms and then genetic programming. These chapters are then followed by a selection of application examples including digital image processing, mobile robot control and fuzzy logic controllers. These examples are used to illustrate both the general principles that underpin evolutionary computation but also how Java is used to implement useful systems. The book ends with two chapters on future directions, looking at such issues as parallelism, multi-objective optimisation, artificial life and other topics.

A number of Java frameworks for evolutionary computation are included on the CD which accompanies the book, and these are discussed in one of the appendices.

The focus of the book is very much on the practical rather than the theoretical, although there are numerous references to follow up for those who are interested. Dr Ghanea-Hercock is clearly enthused by his subject, and that enthusiasm is infectious. In all this is a useful introduction to a fascinating subject. As a general introduction it does not have the scope of Melanie Mitchell's outstanding work, but it serves as a useful adjunct for those interested in applications and/or Java implementations.

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