Calibration of an Adaptive Genetic Algorithm for Modeling Opinion Diffusion

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Genetic algorithms mimic the process of natural selection in order to solve optimization problems with minimal assumptions and perform well when the objective function has local optima on the search space. These algorithms treat potential solutions to the optimization problem as chromosomes, consisting of genes which undergo biologically-inspired operators to identify a better solution. Hyperparameters or control parameters determine the way these operators are implemented. We created a genetic algorithm in order to fit a DeGroot opinion diffusion model using limited data, making use of selection, blending, crossover, mutation, and survival operators. We adapted the algorithm from a genetic algorithm for design of mixture experiments, but the new algorithm required substantial changes due to model assumptions and the large parameter space relative to the design space. In addition to introducing new hyperparameters, these changes mean the hyperparameter values suggested for the original algorithm cannot be expected to result in optimal performance. To make the algorithm for modeling opinion diffusion more accessible to researchers, we conduct a simulation study investigating hyperparameter values. We find the algorithm is robust to the values selected for most hyperparameters and provide suggestions for initial, if not default, values and recommendations for adjustments based on algorithm output.





Johnson, K. L., & Carnegie, N. B. (2022). Calibration of an Adaptive Genetic Algorithm for Modeling Opinion Diffusion. Algorithms, 15(2), 45.
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