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A Search for Improved Performance in Regular Expressions

Abstract · Apr 13, 2017 13:23 ·

kenny programs eoghan ronayne michael improvement regular fenton seed cs-ne

Arxiv Abstract

  • Brendan Cody-Kenny
  • Michael Fenton
  • Adrian Ronayne
  • Eoghan Considine
  • Thomas McGuire
  • Michael O'Neill

The primary aim of automated performance improvement is to reduce the running time of programs while maintaining (or improving on) functionality. In this paper, Genetic Programming is used to find performance improvements in regular expressions for an array of target programs, representing the first application of automated software improvement for run-time performance in the Regular Expression language. This particular problem is interesting as there may be many possible alternative regular expressions which perform the same task while exhibiting subtle differences in performance. A benchmark suite of candidate regular expressions is proposed for improvement. We show that the application of Genetic Programming techniques can result in performance improvements in all cases. As we start evolution from a known good regular expression, diversity is critical in escaping the local optima of the seed expression. In order to understand diversity during evolution we compare an initial population consisting of only seed programs with a population initialised using a combination of a single seed individual with individuals generated using PI Grow and Ramped-half-and-half initialisation mechanisms.

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