The problem of locating all the optima within a multimodal fitness landscape has been widely addressed in evolutionary computation, and many solutions, based on a large variety of different techniques, have been proposed in the literature. Among them, fitness sharing (FS) is probably the best known and the most widely used. The main criticisms to FS concern both the lack of an explicit mechanism for identifying or providing any information about the location of the peaks in the fitness landscape, and the definition of species implicitly assumed by FS. We present a mechanism of FS, i.e., dynamic fitness sharing, which has been devised in order to overcome these limitations. The proposed method allows an explicit, dynamic identification of the species discovered at each generation, their localization on the fitness landscape, the application of the sharing mechanism to each species separately, and a species elitist strategy. The proposed method has been tested on a set of standard functions largely adopted in the literature to assess the performance of evolutionary algorithms on multimodal functions. Experimental results confirm that our method performs significantly better than FS and other methods proposed in the literature without requiring any further assumption on the fitness landscape than those assumed by the FS itself.
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