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What is Genetic Algorithm in Data Science?

 

The process of selecting the input values that will result in the "best" outcomes is referred to as optimization. In mathematics, "best" can refer to several things depending on the circumstances. Still, it most commonly refers to optimizing some combination of input parameters to maximize or minimize an objective function.

Genetic algorithms is inherently random. Still, they beat random local search because they make better use of the information they obtain from the past. The search space is the complete compilation of all possible input values or answers to the problem. An individual point or a collection of points inside this search space would be the optimal option. Finding that point in the search space or a combination of issues is what optimization is all about. Since their introduction, GAs have effectively addressed various optimization challenges. Understanding genetic algorithm in data mining begins with understanding data science; you can get an insight into the same through our Data Science training.  

What is a Genetic Algorithm? 

Genetic algorithms, or GAs, are search-based algorithms underpinned by the fundamental concepts of natural selection and genetics. GAs are a subset of what is collectively referred to as the computing discipline known as evolutionary computation. The first genetic algorithms (GAs) were developed at the University of Michigan by John Holland, his students, and other faculty members, most notably David E. Goldberg

In GAs, the multiple solutions to a problem are broken down into populations. Then, in a process analogous to natural genetics, these solutions recombine and mutate to produce children, and the cycle repeats itself for many generations. Individuals (or candidate solutions) are each assigned a fitness value defined by the objective function's value. Individuals or candidate solutions with higher fitness values are provided with further reproduction opportunities. This is consistent with Charles Darwin's thesis of "survival of the fittest."

In order to achieve this goal, we can continue to "evolve" superior individuals or procedures across a significant number of generations until we reach a limit.

Five Phases of Genetic Algorithm

Genetic Algorithm employs evolutionary generational cycle to develop high-quality solutions. This optimisation process takes place in five steps to avoid any issue and enhance or replace the population to provide a better fir answer. You can also learn the six stages of data science processing to better grasp the above topic.

The five phase process take place as follow: 

  1. Initial population
  2. Fitness function
  3. Selection
  4. Crossover
  5. Mutation

1. Initial Population 

People at the Beginning the point of departure is a group of individuals, which is why they are collectively referred to as "the Population." You can tackle the current problem by addressing it one individual at a time.Genes are the factors (variables) that determine a person's characteristics and traits. When genes are arranged in a specific order, chromosomes are produced (solution). A genetic algorithm would often store an individual's collection of genes in the form of a string, essentially an alphabetically sorted list of letter combinations. Typically, binary digits are the ones that are used (strings of 1s and 0s). We use the term "encode" to write genes onto a chromosome.

2. Fitness Function 

At each iteration, the people are assessed according to their respective fitness scores, which are the results of the fitness function being applied to their data.Those individuals who are able to obtain a higher fitness score are considered to have superior solutions, and they have a greater chance of being selected to crossover and handed on to the following generation. For instance, if genetic algorithms are used for feature selection, then the fitness function for a classification issue would be the model's accuracy with the selected features if the problem is being solved using genetic algorithms.

3. Selection 

A selection process is used to determine which of the individuals in the population will get to reproduce and create the offspring that will form the next generation after first computing the fitness of every individual in the population and then selecting those individuals based on their fitness levels.Various approaches to selecting are at your disposal,

  • Choose your own roulette wheel
  • Selection for the Tournament
  • Ranking as a basis for selection
4. Crossover 

In most cases, two people from the current generation are picked out to have their genes swapped with those of another pair of people to produce a new human who would serve as a representative for the kids. The procedure may also be referred to as crossing over or mating. Several crossover procedures are available: 

  • Including a one-point crossover
  • At two points.
  • Crossover with a uniform look.
5. Mutation 

A mutation is an accidental alteration in a chromosome that results in the appearance of new patterns on the chromosome. As an illustration, consider inverting a bit in a binary string.Various strategies for a mutation are at your disposal,

  • Flip Bit Mutation,
  • Gaussian Mutation,
  • Swap Mutation

Implementation of Genetic Algorithm for Feature Selection

The implementation of Genetic Algorithm (GA) for feature selection is a widely used technique in the field of machine learning and data mining. This approach involves selecting only the most relevant features from a large pool of possible predictors, thereby reducing computational complexity and improving model performance. Research has shown that GA-based feature selection methods can outperform other traditional techniques such as Principal Component Analysis and Recursive Feature Elimination, especially when dealing with high-dimensional datasets. One example is a study conducted by Singh et al., which demonstrated that using GA for feature selection led to improved accuracy in predicting breast cancer recurrence compared to using all available features. The process involves generating an initial population of candidate solutions (i.e., sets of selected features), evaluating their fitness based on some objective function or evaluation metric, applying genetic operators such as crossover and mutation to create new offspring populations, and repeating this cycle until convergence criteria are met. Overall, the implementation of GA for feature selection offers an effective way to improve model performance while reducing computational overheads in various application domains including healthcare, finance, and image analysis.

How are Genetic Algorithms Different From Those Used in Traditional Computing?

Genetic Algorithms are fundamentally distinct from conventional algorithmic approaches in a number of essential areas.

  • The "search space" for a problem refers to compiling all potential solutions to that problem. Traditional algorithms only maintain a single set in a search space, in contrast to Genetic Algorithms, which use a number of sets simultaneously in a search area (Feature selection using R.F.E vs. Genetic Algorithms).
  • In order to execute a search, traditional algorithms require a number of parameters, whereas genetic algorithms just require a single objective function. This allows genetic algorithms to evaluate the fitness of an organism more accurately.
  • In contrast to the serial nature of traditional algorithms, genetic algorithms can run in parallel (calculating the fitness of the individuals are independent).
  • Traditional algorithms are only capable of producing a single optimal solution, but several generations of Genetic Algorithms may provide a large number of optimal answers.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, traditional algorithms are not better prepared to identify global optimal solutions. Genetic operators, such as crossover and mutation, improve the possibility of discovering such solutions; nevertheless, they do not guarantee the discovery of such answers.
  • The difference between genetic algorithms and traditional algorithms is that genetic algorithms are probabilistic and stochastic, whereas traditional algorithms are deterministic.
  • Traditional algorithms have difficulty dealing with multi-modal real-world problems (containing numerous locally optimum solutions). Still, Genetic Algorithms, when given the appropriate parameter settings, can handle these problems quite effectively due to the large amount of space devoted to potential solutions.

Advantages of Genetic Algorithms

The use of GAs has recently witnessed a significant uptick in response to the numerous advantages of these tools. Take, for instance:

  • It does not need derived data (which may not be available for many real-world problems).
  • It is both quicker and more productive than more traditional methods.
  • It possesses excellent parallelism.
  • Optimizes issues with multiple objectives, including those with continuous and discrete function requirements.
  • Instead of just offering one option, it provides multiple "great" alternatives.
  • There is always a way out, and often, that option gets easier to use over time.
  • Particularly useful in situations with plenty of parameters and a sizable search space.

Complications Associated with Genetic Algorithm

Certain limitations are associated with using GAs, but this is expected with any strategy. To mention a few, including

  • GAs are not ideal for circumstances in which derivative information is easily accessible, nor are they ideal for reasonably uncomplicated circumstances.
  • As a result of the intricacy of some circumstances, the computation necessary to calculate the worth of the fitness might become expensive.
  • When a problem is addressed using the stochastic method, there is no way to know whether the result will be of high quality or even the best possible solution.
  • In the event that it is not carried out in the appropriate manner, there is the possibility that the GA will not result in an optimal solution.

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Conclusion

Genetic algorithms is inspired by natural selection and genetics, imitate the process of evolution to identify the best feasible solution to a given issue. It is a fanataic optimisation technique that grown in popularity in the recent years. 

Overall, genetic algorithms provide a strong and adaptable optimisation framework for a wide range of issues. Because of their capacity to tackle complicated issues, they are useful in many fields of research and development. As technology advances, genetic algorithms will certainly become more common, allowing scientists and researchers to address issues that were previously considered to be intractable. You can also learn about genetic algorithm by reading more about neural network guides and python for data science, if you are interested in further career prospects in data science. 

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