On Evolvability: The Swapping Algorithm, Product Distributions, and Covariance
      - Gyorgy Turan

    Valiant recently introduced a learning theoretic framework for evolution, and showed that his swapping algorithm evolves monotone conjunctions efficiently over the uniform distribution. We continue the study of the swapping algorithm for monotone conjunctions. A modified presentation is given for the uniform distribution, which leads to a characterization of best approximations, a simplified analysis and improved complexity bounds. It is shown that for product distributions a similar characterization does not hold, and there may be local optima of the fitness function. However, the characterization holds if the correlation fitness function is replaced by covariance. Evolvability results are given for product distributions using the covariance fitness function, assuming either arbitrary tolerances, or a non-degeneracy condition for the distribution and a size bound on the target.

Key words: learning, evolution.

Last updated: November 7, 2009.