Low or no cost distributed evolutionary computation

JJ Merelo @jjmerelo

GeNeura + CITIC for IDC14. Watch this at idc-keynote.herokuapp.com. Report issues here.

Brother, you got a computing cycle to spare?

From National Archive Netherlands, Flickr

Flickr image from Nationaal Archief @ flic.kr/p/9bGRAD.

Wait. Evolutionary algorithms? What's that?

Hands raised, NA US

Flickr image from US National Archives @ flic.kr/p/8UAPVT.

Sheep from US national archives

Population-based algorithms

From Flocks in Owens Valley, Ansel Adams

Evolving solutions through natural selection

Wing from the origin of Species

Select the best, combine and change them, repeat until solution found

From The descent of man by Darwin

Random mutation introduces more variations


Random variation only takes you nowhere fast


To every one its own

Only the fittest leave a mark

We are doing it right now!

Are you browsing this presentation?

You're helping

The browser is the new operating system

real newspaper layout

Optimizing Web Page Layout using an annealed Genetic Algorithm as client-side script, PPSN, 1998

JavaScript is its native language

Every browser uses JavaScript

It's not distributed yet!

We're getting there!

Ajax, a standard browser-server communication framework

HTTP petitions from a standard object in the browser


Now we can distribute!

Browser-based distributed evolutionary computation: performance and scaling behavior, GECCO, 2007

Is that free?

Almost, but not quite

We still need the the server

And the sysadmin, and the electricity...

Servers in a cave by reggestraat

From Antony Antony flic.kr/p/6K3ZAG

We need the cloud

What's cloud computing?

On-demand access to virtual devices.

Infrastructure as a service

sandbox by Gil Garcia Flickr image by Gil Garcia flic.kr/p/5Pa7ZJ

Platform as a service

sandbox toy by spiritwoods Flickr image by Stefani Woods flic.kr/p/4QiGQV

That can't be free

It's mostly low-cost

Distributed EA for 10$

Is there a free lunch for cloud-based evolutionary algorithms?, IEEE CEC, 2013

IaaS have free tiers

But it generally is pay-as-you-go

But then there's freemium PaaS

Heroku, OpenShift and Google AppSpot

Precisely what we're doing here

Right there, on the corner

Why did you (or did not) give me cycles

Science as potlatch


Image by Frana Blaylock flic.kr/p/5KCXuQ

Potlatch is a resource redistribution system

== load balancing!

Creates a link between persons and tribes

== distributed system!

Where's my gift?

I want my free distributed computing system!

Potlatch arose from big resource surpluses

You only give what you've got to spare

I give access to knowledge

Open source!

Engage community from inception.

Citizen gives attention

Twitter experiment

And computing resources!

Challenges and issues

  • (Almost) Unpredictable infrastructure
  • Ephemeral contributions: single seconds
  • Complex socio-technical system

Thanks a lot for your attention

Any question?

Download/fork this presentation from git.io/idc14kn

Use arrow keys to navigate