Habilitation dissertation

Marc Schoenauer When I wrote this, I was with Equipe Evolution Artificielle et Apprentissage C.M.A.P - Ecole Polytechnique

Defended on January 6. 1997 at University Paris 11 -- Orsay
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What I wrote in Nov. 95 in the foreword:

The work described in this document is centered on Evolutionary Computation and some of its applications in different fields of numerical optimization.

I graduated in Numerical Analysis, and my trajectory toward Computer Science and Evolutionary Computation is a little sneaky: After a smooth standard start with my PhD thesis in June 1980, in the domain of Numerical Analysis, I began to be interested in the potential applications of AI to that field. Starting from Expert Systems, and due to the frequent absence of experts in such technical domains, we soon turned to Machine Learning All my work in the Machine Learning area is joint work with M. Sebag, LMS (Solid Mechanics Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique) and LRI (Computer Science Dpt, University Paris XI) with substancial help from Prof. J. Zarka, LMS.

But rapidly, after getting answers to the direct question: ``If feature A is a and feature B is b, then what happens?'' (Answer from the rule base: ``Catastrophe C is likely to happen'' ), the experts asked the inverse question : ``How can I tune features A and B to avoid catastrophe C?''

Such inverse problems are amenable to the field of Optimization, but standard tools are of poor use in semi-discrete spaces, with very rough objective functions: At that time, I was ready to meet Evolutionary Computation: the encounter with Genetic Algorithms happened in the late 80's.

The main trends of my work now are Function Identification and Structure Optimization on the application side, and hybridization of evolutionary techniques, numerical analysis methods and inductive learning algorithms on the more fundamental side.

I am mostly interested in Evolutionary Algorithms as Function Optimizers, and I feel Evolutionary Computation should be part of the standard optimization tool boxes of Numerical Analysis. On the other hand, my background in Numerical Analysis certainly is an asset for somebody working in the field of Optimization. Nevertheless, I am really convinced both fields can benefit from their civilized meeting.

The present document summarizes past, present and future work of EEAAX, the Artificial Evolution and Machine Learning Team I am leading at Ecole Polytechnique (Equipe Evolution Artificielle et Apprentissage de l'X), as this is the part of my scientific work for which I ask to be habilite a diriger des recherches.

November 1995 (yes, 1995).

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