This paper describes FOX-GA, a genetic algorithm (GA) that generates and evaluates plans
in the complex domain of military maneuver planning. FOX-GA’s contributions are to
demonstrate an effective application of GA technology to a complex real world planning
problem, and to provide an understanding of the properties needed in a GA solution to meet
the challenges of decision support in complex domains. Previous obstacles to applying GA
technology to maneuver planning include the lack of efficient algorithms for determining
the fimess of plans. Detailed simulations would ideally be used to evaluate these plans, but
most such simulations typically require several hours to assess a single plan. Since a GA
needs to quickly generate and evaluate thousands of plans, these methods are too slow. To
solve this problem we developed an efficient evaluator (wargamer) that uses course-grained
representations of this problem domain to allow appropriate yet intelligent trade-offs between
computational efficiency and accuracy. An additional challenge was that users needed a diverse
set of significantly different plan options from which to choose. Typical GA’s tend to develop
a group of “best” solutions that may be very similar (or identical) to each other. This may not
provide users with sufficient choice. We addressed this problem by adding a niching strategy
to the selection mechanism to insure diversity in the solution set, providing users with a more
satisfactory range of choices. FOX-GA’s impact will be in providing decision support to time
constrained and cognitively overloaded battlestaff to help them rapidly explore options, create
plans, and better cope with the information demands of modern warfare.
Schlabach, J.L.; Hayes, Caroline C.; Goldberg, D.E..
FOX-GA: A Genetic Algorithm for Generating and Analyzing Battlefield Courses of Action".
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