Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
This paper addresses the problem of discovering the structure of a fitness function from binary strings to the reals under the assumption of bounded epistasis. Two loci (string positions) are epistatically linked if the effect of changing the allele (value) at one locus depends on the allele at the other locus. Similarly, a group of loci are epistatically linked if the effect of changing the allele at one locus depends on the alleles at all other loci of the group. Under the assumption that the size of such groups of loci are bounded, and assuming that the function is given only as a “black box function”, this paper presents and analyzes a randomized algorithm that finds the complete epistatic structure of the function in the form of the Walsh coefficients of the function.