A hybrid genetic algorithm with local optimiser improves calibration of a vegetation change cellular automata model

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Abstract

Cellular automata (CA) models are commonly used to model vegetation dynamics, with the genetic algorithm (GA) being one method of calibration. This article investigates different GA settings, as well as the combination of a GA with a local optimiser to improve the calibration effort. The case study is a pattern-calibrated CA to model vegetation regrowth in central Victoria, Australia. We tested 16 GA models, varying population size, mutation rate, and level of allowable mutation. We also investigated the effect of applying a local optimiser, the Nelder‒Mead Downhill Simplex (NMDS) at GA convergence. We found that using a decreasing mutation rate can reduce computational cost while avoiding premature GA convergence, while increasing population size does not make the GA more efficient. The hybrid GA-NMDS can also reduce computational cost compared to a GA alone, while also improving the calibration metric. We conclude that careful consideration of GA settings, including population size and mutation rate, and in particular the addition of a local optimiser, can positively impact the efficiency and success of the GA algorithm, which can in turn lead to improved simulations using a well-calibrated CA model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-737
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Volume31
Issue number4
Early online dateSep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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