An Ant Colony based Hyper-Heuristic Approach for the Set Covering Problem

  • Alexandre Silvestre Ferreira
    C-Bio Group, Federal University of Parana alexandrefscan[at]
  • Aurora Pozo
    C-Bio Group, Federal University of Parana
  • Richard Aderbal Gonçalves
    C-Bio Group, State University of Centro-Oeste


The Set Covering Problem (SCP) is a NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem that is challenging for meta-heuristic algorithms. In the optimization literature, several approaches using meta-heuristics have been developed to tackle the SCP and the quality of the results provided by these approaches highly depends on customized operators that demands high effort from researchers and practitioners. In order to alleviate the complexity of designing metaheuristics, a methodology called hyper-heuristic has emerged as a possible solution. A hyper-heuristic is capable of dynamically selecting simple low-level heuristics accordingly to their performance, alleviating the design complexity of the problem solver and obtaining satisfactory results at the same time. In a previous study, we proposed a hyper-heuristic approach based on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO-HH) for solving the SCP. This paper extends our previous efforts, presenting better results and a deeper analysis of ACO-HH parameters and behavior, specially about the selection of low-level heuristics. The paper also presents a comparison with an ACO meta-heuristic customized for the SCP.
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Ferreira, A. S., Pozo, A., & Gonçalves, R. A. (2015). An Ant Colony based Hyper-Heuristic Approach for the Set Covering Problem. ADCAIJ: Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal, 4(1), 1–21.


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