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About HeuristicLab

HeuristicLab is a framework for heuristic and evolutionary algorithms, developed and successively applied by members of the Heuristic and Evolutionary Algorithms Laboratory since 2002.

Among other aspects, a sophisticated graphical user interface distinguishes HeuristicLab from existing heuristic optimization frameworks, which usually require comprehensive programming skills to adjust and extend the algorithms for a particular problem. In HeuristicLab algorithms are represented as operator graphs and changing or rearranging operators can be done by drag-and-drop without actually writing code. The framework thereby shifts algorithm development capability from the software engineer to the user and practitioner. It is of course still possible to extend the framework on code level and algorithm developers benefit from HeuristicLab’s light-weight plug-in mechanism that allows them to integrate custom algorithms, solution representations or optimization problems with ease. This concept leads to a significant level of code reuse across metaheuristic variants and encourages users to successively gain more knowledge about algorithm development.

Attached to this page you can also find a flyer in which the facts and features of HeuristicLab are briefly described.

Where to start

Below you can find a list of links to more information about HeuristicLab:

  • Features?: On this page you find an overview of HeuristicLab's features as well as screenshots showing HeuristicLab in action.
  • User Manual?: This manual gives a more detailed description of how HeuristicLab works and how to use it.
  • Howtos?: Various Howtos for users and developers covering certain aspects of HeuristicLab.
  • Tutorial slides?: Here you can find the slides of tutorials we held at conferences.
  • FAQ?: Not finding the answer to your question? Have a look the FAQ?.

In the news

Innovation award banner In May 2009 we submitted HeuristicLab for the Microsoft Innovation Award 2009. Both an expert jury and a public audience perceived HeuristicLab as one of the of the three most innovative software projects from 64 submissions. We are of course very happy about such a recognition and the award itself, which was presented by Austria's Federal Minister for Science and Research Dr. Johannes Hahn.

During the event we were able to show HeuristicLab to interested people and talk about its possibilities and applications. We also have a YouTube video where research group head Michael Affenzeller talks about HeuristicLab (german) for the Innovation Award Audience.


HeuristicLab is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

HeuristicLab is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details (

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