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Automated design of genetic programming of classification algorithms.

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Over the past decades, there has been an increase in the use of evolutionary algorithms (EAs) for data mining and knowledge discovery in a wide range of application domains. Data classification, a real-world application problem is one of the areas EAs have been widely applied. Data classification has been extensively researched resulting in the development of a number of EA based classification algorithms. Genetic programming (GP) in particular has been shown to be one of the most effective EAs at inducing classifiers. It is widely accepted that the effectiveness of a parameterised algorithm like GP depends on its configuration. Currently, the design of GP classification algorithms is predominantly performed manually. Manual design follows an iterative trial and error approach which has been shown to be a menial, non-trivial time-consuming task that has a number of vulnerabilities. The research presented in this thesis is part of a large-scale initiative by the machine learning community to automate the design of machine learning techniques. The study investigates the hypothesis that automating the design of GP classification algorithms for data classification can still lead to the induction of effective classifiers. This research proposes using two evolutionary algorithms,namely,ageneticalgorithm(GA)andgrammaticalevolution(GE)toautomatethe design of GP classification algorithms. The proof-by-demonstration research methodology is used in the study to achieve the set out objectives. To that end two systems namely, a genetic algorithm system and a grammatical evolution system were implemented for automating the design of GP classification algorithms. The classification performance of the automated designed GP classifiers, i.e., GA designed GP classifiers and GE designed GP classifiers were compared to manually designed GP classifiers on real-world binary class and multiclass classification problems. The evaluation was performed on multiple domain problems obtained from the UCI machine learning repository and on two specific domains, cybersecurity and financial forecasting. The automated designed classifiers were found to outperform the manually designed GP classifiers on all the problems considered in this study. GP classifiers evolved by GE were found to be suitable for classifying binary classification problems while those evolved by a GA were found to be suitable for multiclass classification problems. Furthermore, the automated design time was found to be less than manual design time. Fitness landscape analysis of the design spaces searched by a GA and GE were carried out on all the class of problems considered in this study. Grammatical evolution found the search to be smoother on binary classification problems while the GA found multiclass problems to be less rugged than binary class problems.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.