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COMP 307 — Introduction to AI
Assignment 2: Neural and Evolutionary Learning

1 Objectives
The goal of this assignment is to help you understand the basic concepts and algorithms of neural and
evolutionary learning, use these algorithms to perform regression and classification tasks, and analyse the
results to draw some conclusions. In particular, the following topics should be reviewed:
• Multilayer feed forward neural network architectures and applications,
• Back (error) propagation algorithm and its variations,
• Tackling a problem with an existing neural network package,
• Evolutionary computing and learning paradigms,

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COMP 307 — Introduction to AI
Assignment 2: Neural and Evolutionary Learning

1 Objectives
The goal of this assignment is to help you understand the basic concepts and algorithms of neural and
evolutionary learning, use these algorithms to perform regression and classification tasks, and analyse the
results to draw some conclusions. In particular, the following topics should be reviewed:
• Multilayer feed forward neural network architectures and applications,
• Back (error) propagation algorithm and its variations,
• Tackling a problem with an existing neural network package,
• Evolutionary computing and learning paradigms,
• Genetic programming for solving real world applications particularly for regression and binary classification problems, and
• Tackling a problem with an existing genetic programming package.
These topics are (to be) covered in lectures 08–12. The online materials can also be checked.
In this assignment, neural networks refer to the standard multilayer feed forward neural networks trained by
the back propagation algorithm. Genetic programming refers to the standard genetic programming approach
with the tree-like structure for the evolved programs.
2 Question Description
Part 1: Neural Networks for Classification [30 marks]
In this part, you are required to use an existing neural network package to perform classification on the iris
data set described below. Please note that you already used this data set in the previous assignment.
Problem Description
The iris data set is taken from the UCI Machine Learning Repository (http://mlearn.ics.uci.edu/MLRepository.html).
The original data set contains 3 classes of 50 instances each, where each class refers to a type of iris plant.
There are four numeric attributes: sepal length in cm, sepal width in cm, petal length in cm, and petal width
in cm. More detailed information can be seen from the file iris.names.
Requirements
You should define a neural network architecture for this problem, determine related network learning parameters, use the training set iris-training.txt to learn/train your neural network, then apply the
learned/trained neural network on the test set iris-test.txt.
While it is good to write your own program packages to implement the back (error) propagation algorithm for
training the multilayer feed forward networks, it might take you quite a while to do so. So we recommend two
neural network simulators (packages) for doing this assignment, one in ANSI C (called BPNN), one in Java
(called JOONE, having some minor problems), and one with a GUI interface – a very powerful simulator used
in many universities in the world (called SNNS). You can choose any of these existing packages/simulators
to perform the task. You can also choose any other package, but please describe your choice in your report.
In this case, you will not need to write any programs for this task. Instead, you should submit the following
files electronically and also a report in hard copy.
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• new training set/test set file(s) with a correct format for the neural network package you
have chosen, and
• A report in any of the PDF, text or DOC formats. The report should:
1. Determine and report the network architecture, including the number of input nodes, the number
of output nodes, the number of hidden nodes (assume only one hidden layer is used here). Describe
the rationale of your choice.
2. Determine the learning parameters, including the learning rate, momentum, initial weight ranges,
and any other parameters you used. Describe the rationale of your choice.
3. Determine your network training termination criteria. Describe the rationale of your decision.
4. Report your results (average results of 10 independent experiment runs with different random
seeds) on both the training set and the test set. Analyse your results and make your conclusions.
5. (optional/bonus) Compare the performance of this method (neural networks) and the nearest
neighbour methods.
Part 2: Genetic Programming for Symbolic Regression [30 marks]
In this part, you are required to use genetic programming to evolve a mathematical function (which is an
individual program in the population) for a simple symbolic regression task. In real world applications, a
test set of data is needed in many situations but not needed in other scenarios, depending on the nature of
the problems to be solved. In this assignment, to make the question simple, it is not required to have a test
set — you are just required to evolve a mathematical function to reveal the relationship between the output
variable and the input variable(s) from a (training) set of instances.
Problem Description
The task involves mapping a single input variable x to the (single) output variable y. In a 2D (twodimensional) space (x-y coordinates), there are 20 points (x-y pairs). The task is to find a mathematical
function to describe the relationship between the output variable y and input variable x. The 20 points are
as follows. They are also saved in the file regression.txt in plain text format.
x -2.0 -1.75 -1.50 -1.25 -1.00 -0.75 -0.50 -0.25 0.00 0.25
y 37.0000 24.1602 15.0625 8.9102 5.0000 2.7227 1.5625 1.0977 1.0000 1.0352
x 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 2.25 2.50 2.75
y 1.0625 1.0352 1.0000 1.0977 1.5625 2.7227 5.0000 8.9102 15.0625 24.1602
Requirements
It is very time consuming to write your own GP package from the beginning. As many GP packages are
available, this is actually not necessary. In this assignment, we receommend three GP packages for the GP
questions. They are JGAP (a Java GP library), RMITGP (written in C++, fully documented), GPC++
(written in C++, fully documented). Again, you can choose other GP packages such as VGP (Developed by
VUW, in C/C++), ECJ (in Java). Please describe your choice in your report.
Your job is to use any of the genetic programming packages with necessary changes of the terminal set,
function set, fitness function, parameters and termination criteria to solve the task described above.
You should submit the following files electronically and also a report in hard copy.
• Program code written by yourself (both the source code and the executable program running on ECS
School machines),
• readme.txt describing how to run your program, and
• A report in PDF, text or DOC format. The report should:
1. Determine a good terminal set for this task.
2. Determine a good function set for this task.
3. Construct a good fitness function and describe it using plain language (and mathematical formula,
or other formats you think appropriate).
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4. Describe the relevant parameter values and the stopping criteria you used.
5. List three different best programs evolved by GP and the fitness value of them (you need to run
your GP system several times with different random seeds and report the best programs of the
runs).
6. (optional, bonus) Analyse one of the best programs to reveal why it can solve the problem in the
task.
Part 3: Genetic Programming for Classification [40 marks]
In this part, you are required to use GP to classify the Wisconsin data set instances into two classes. This data
set was obtained from the UCI machine learning repository (http://mlearn.ics.uci.edu/MLRepository.html).
Problem Description
This data set consists of 699 instances of breast cancer diagnosis data, obtained from the University of
Wisconsin Hospitals, Madison from Dr. William H. Wolberg. The data instances are defined by 9 numerically
valued attributes (excluding the sample id number) and result in either a classification of benign or malignant.
This dataset contains 458 “benign” instances (65.5%) and 241 “malignant” instances (34.5%). The file
breast-cancer-wisconsin.data is the data set consisting of these 699 instances.
All of the 9 attributes are integer valued between 1 and 10 and are listed as follows: Clump Thickness
(CT), Uniformity of Cell Size (USz), Uniformity of Cell Shape (UShp), Marginal Adhesion (MA), Single
Epithelial Cell Size (SESz), Bare Nuclei (BN), Bland Chromatin (BC), Normal Nucleoli (NN), Mitoses (M).
Sixteen of the instances also contain “missing attributes” (denoted by “?”). For these attribute values,
one suggestion is to replace these question marks (“?”) with −1 for classification using GP. All the 699
instances including the 16 instances with missing attributes should be used in the experiments. The file
breast-cancer-wisconsin.names gives detailed description of the data.
Requirements
Your job is to use any of the genetic programming packages with necessary changes of the terminal set,
function set, fitness function, parameters and termination criteria to solve the simple task described above.
You should submit the following files electronically and also a report in hard copy.
• Program code written by yourself (both the source code and the executable program running on ECS
School machines),
• training.txt and test.txt with appropriate formats,
• readme.txt describing how to run your program, and
• A report in PDF, text or DOC format. The report should:
1. Determine a good terminal set for this task.
2. Determine a good function set for this task.
3. Construct a good fitness function and describe it using plain language (and mathematical formula,
or other formats you think appropriate).
4. Describe the relevant parameter values and the stopping criteria you used.
5. Describe your main considerations in splitting the original data set into a training set training.txt
and a test set test.txt.
6. Report the classification accuracy (average accuracy over 10 independent experiment runs with
different random seeds) on both the training set and the test set.
7. List three best programs evolved by GP and the fitness value of them.
8. (optional, bonus) Analyse one of best programs to reveal why it can solve the problem in the task.
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3 Relevant Data Files and Program Files
The relevant data files, information files about the data sets, and some utility programs files can be found
from the following directory:
/vol/comp307/assignment2/
Under this directory, there are three subdirectories part1, part2, and part3 corresponding to the three
parts of the assignment, respectively.
The data files can also be downloaded from the course website as a ZIP file.
4 Notes
As an assignment in a 300 level course, you can make your own assumptions if necessary.
During the time between the assignment handout and submission, the tutor(s) will run a number of helpdesks
to provide assistance.
5 Submission Guidelines
5.1 Submission Requirements
1. Program codes you wrote and training (and test) set files that are used for all individual parts. To
avoid confusion, all the individual parts should use directories part1/, part2/, … and all pieces
of programs should be stored in their corresponding directories. Within each directory, please provide
a readme file that specifies how to compile and run your program on the ECS school machines. If
posible, a script file called sampleoutput.txt should also be provided to show how your program run
properly. If you programs cannot run properly, you can provide a buglist file. You need to submit
these codes and files in soft copy only.
2. A document consisting of the report of all the individual parts. The document should mark each part
clearly. The document can be written in PDF, text or the DOC format. You need to submit this
document in both soft copy and hard copy.
5.2 Submission Method
The programs and the PDF/Text/DOC version of the document should be submitted through the web
submission system from the COMP307 course web site by the due time.
The hard copy of the document is required to be submitted to the COMP 307 handin box in the 2nd floor
corridor of the Cotton building by the due time.