Genetic Algorithms - Termination Condition


The termination condition of a Genetic Algorithm is important in determining when a GA run will end. It has been observed that initially, the GA progresses very fast with better solutions coming in every few iterations, but this tends to saturate in the later stages where the improvements are very small. We usually want a termination condition such that our solution is close to the optimal, at the end of the run.

Usually, we keep one of the following termination conditions −

  • When there has been no improvement in the population for X iterations.
  • When we reach an absolute number of generations.
  • When the objective function value has reached a certain pre-defined value.

For example, in a genetic algorithm we keep a counter which keeps track of the generations for which there has been no improvement in the population. Initially, we set this counter to zero. Each time we don’t generate off-springs which are better than the individuals in the population, we increment the counter.

However, if the fitness any of the off-springs is better, then we reset the counter to zero. The algorithm terminates when the counter reaches a predetermined value.

Like other parameters of a GA, the termination condition is also highly problem specific and the GA designer should try out various options to see what suits his particular problem the best.