A genetic programming hyper-heuristic approach for evolving 2-D strip packing heuristics

Edmund K. Burke, Matthew Hyde, Graham Kendall, John Woodward

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


We present a genetic programming (GP) system to evolve reusable heuristics for the 2-D strip packing problem. The evolved heuristics are constructive, and decide both which piece to pack next and where to place that piece, given the current partial solution. This paper contributes to a growing research area that represents a paradigm shift in search methodologies. Instead of using evolutionary computation to search a space of solutions, we employ it to search a space of heuristics for the problem. A key motivation is to investigate methods to automate the heuristic design process. It has been stated in the literature that humans are very good at identifying good building blocks for solution methods. However, the task of intelligently searching through all of the potential combinations of these components is better suited to a computer. With such tools at their disposal, heuristic designers are then free to commit more of their time to the creative process of determining good components, while the computer takes on some of the design process by intelligently combining these components. This paper shows that a GP hyper-heuristic can be employed to automatically generate human competitive heuristics in a very-well studied problem domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-958
JournalIEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2010


  • 2-D stock cutting
  • genetic programming
  • hyper-heuristics


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