Changes between Version 41 and Version 42 of Documentation/FirstSteps


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Timestamp:
06/29/14 09:21:36 (5 years ago)
Author:
abeham
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  • Documentation/FirstSteps

    v41 v42  
    1 [[PageOutline]]
    2 = User Manual =
     1= First Steps with HeuristicLab =
    32
    4 == 1. Introduction ==
    5 === 1.1 Target Audience ===
    6 This manual is intended for end users, domain experts and students who are not necessarily familiar with algorithm development in .NET. It therefore focuses on the graphical user interface and how to configure, customize and extend the available standard algorithm already available in HeuristicLab 3.3 for a particular problem without writing (a lot of) code. We believe that a successive transfer of competence in algorithm development from heuristic optimization experts to users working on real-world applications would be very beneficial for the community as a whole. This manual will slowly guide you through a number of [#Tutorials tutorials] after which we hope even novice users will no longer have to use metaheuristics as black box techniques, but can use them as algorithms which can be modified and easily tuned to specific problem situations.
     3== 1. Supported Algorithms and Problems ==
     4A detailed list of available algorithms and problems in HeuristicLab can be found on the [[Features]] page.
    75
    8 === 1.2 HeuristicLab Software Architecture ===
    9 
    10 The core of HeuristicLab is its algorithm model. It is not necessary to understand more than an abstract level of the core language as an end user. We provide a short summary of the most important components here:
    11 
    12 [[Image(wiki:Architecture:core_architecture.jpg, width=350, margin-bottom=10)]]
    13 
    14 Core concepts:
    15  * '''Data:''' All HeuristicLab 3.3 data objects can be saved, restored and viewed. Standard data types such as integers, doubles, strings, or arrays that do not offer these properties are wrapped in HeuristicLab 3.3 objects.
    16  * '''Variables:''' Data objects are linked to a name by storing them in a variable.
    17  * '''Scopes:''' Scopes are containers for variables. To access a variable in a scope, the variable name is used as an identifer (has to be unique per scope). Scopes can be hierarchically organized as trees (subscope hierarchy).
    18  * '''Operators:''' Each algorithm is a sequence of instructions, which are called operators in HeuristicLab 3.3. Operators are applied on scopes to access/manipulate variables and subscopes.
    19  * '''Parameters:''' Each operator defines parameters for each variable it expects and (possibly) manipulates.
    20  * '''Engines:''' Algorithms are represented as operator graphs and executed step-by-step on virtual machines called engines. 
    21 
    22 We recommend having a look at the [[Architecture]] wiki page to get a more detailed description of the algorithm model. You can also revisit this page later on, as it is not really required for the introduction section.
    23 
    24 == 2. Supported Algorithms and Problems ==
    25 A detailed list of available algorithms and problems in HeuristicLab can be found on the [wiki:UsersFeatures Features] page.
    26 
    27 == 3. Getting Started ==
     6== 2. Getting Started ==
    287If you start HeuristicLab, a splash screen will appear while all the plugins are loaded. Afterwards you can select a HeuristicLab application on the start screen:
    298
    30 [[Image(wiki:Pictures:StartScreen.png, nolink)]]
     9[[Image(/raw-attachment/wiki/Pictures/StartScreen.png, nolink)]]
    3110
    3211The standard configuration, which you can download on this homepage, is shipped with two applications:
     
    3514
    3615[=#Optimizer]
    37 == 4. HeuristicLab Optimizer ==
    38 === 4.1 Start Working ===
     16== 3. HeuristicLab Optimizer ==
     17=== 3.1 Start Working ===
    3918Follow these steps to start working with HeuristicLab Optimizer:
    40191. '''Open an algorithm'''
    41  * click ''New Item'' in the toolbar and select an algorithm or click ''Open File'' in the toolbar and load an algorithm from a file
     20 * Click ''New Item'' in the toolbar and select an algorithm
    42212. '''Open a problem in the algorithm'''
    43  * in the Problem tab of the algorithm click ''New Problem'' and select a problem or click ''Open Problem'' and load a problem from a file
     22 * In the Problem tab of the algorithm click ''New Problem''
    44233. '''Set parameters'''
    45  * set problem parameters in the Problem tab of the algorithm
    46  * set algorithm parameters in the Parameters tab of the algorithm
     24 * Load an appropriate instance of the problem, HeuristicLab includes many well-known benchmark instances which can be easily loaded
     25 * Set algorithm parameters in the Parameters tab of the algorithm
    47264. '''Run the algorithm'''
    48  * click ''!Start/Resume Algorithm'' to execute the algorithm (if the button is grayed out some parameters of the algorithm or the problem still have to be set)
    49  * wait for the algorithm to terminate or click ''Pause Algorithm'' to interrupt its execution or click ''Stop Algorithm'' to stop its execution
     27 * Click ''!Start/Resume Algorithm'' in the lower-left to execute the algorithm (if the button is grayed out some parameters of the algorithm or the problem still have to be set)
     28 * Wait for the algorithm to terminate or click ''Pause Algorithm'' to interrupt its execution or click ''Stop Algorithm'' to stop its execution
    50295. '''Check results'''
    51  * check the results on the Results tab of the algorithm
    52  * click ''!Start/Resume Algorithm'' to continue the algorithm or click ''Reset Algorithm'' to prepare a new run
     30 * Check the results on the Results tab of the algorithm
     31 * Click ''!Start/Resume Algorithm'' to continue the algorithm or click ''Reset Algorithm'' to prepare a new run
    5332
    5433=== 4.2 Samples ===
    55 For you convenience we have prepared a set of [[UsersSamples| samples]] that are shipped with HeuristicLab. These samples provide a set of preconfigured algorithms for particular problems. For example, if you want to solve a TSP problem with genetic algorithms our preconfigured  [[UsersSamples#GATSP| GA for the ch130 problem]] might be worth a look.
     34For you convenience we include a number of preconfigured samples on the StartPage of the optimizer. By double-clicking them you can open and experiment with these.
    5635
    57 [=#Tutorials]
    58 == 5. Tutorials ==
    59 Are you looking for predefined algorithms which can be executed immediately or an easy step-by-step guide to the parameterization of a particular algorithm? In this section we will provide tutorials on different aspects of HeuristicLab. Most of them are not yet written, but we strive to catch up with the documentation. Contributions are always welcome! [[BR]]
    60 You can also have a look at [wiki:UsersTutorials this page] for slides of tutorials that we held at conferences as well as video tutorials covering various aspects of HeuristicLab.
     36== 5. Testing and Analysis ==
     37HeuristicLab supports two basic optimizers that help you in testing algorithms:
     38 * [[Batch Run]]: A run in which an algorithm is executed a given number of times (repetitions).
     39 * [[Experiment]]: An experiment which contains multiple optimizers (can be organized hierarchically)
    6140
    62 === 5.1 Optimizing External Applications ===
    63 The [http://cig.dei.polimi.it/?page_id=103 Race Car Setup Optimization Competition] was organized for the [http://dces.essex.ac.uk/research/evostar/ EvoStar 2010] conference. The problem is a classic "simulation-based optimization problem" with a simulator, a simulation model, and several configuration parameters that have to be optimized. The following [[UsersHowtosOptimizingExternalApplications#Tutorial| Tutorial]] will show you how to configure an external evaluation problem for that particular problem.
     41The //Create Experiment// dialog in the Edit menu is a great and simple way to perform parameter grid tests. If an algorithm window is highlighted, this menu option becomes available. In the dialog you will be able to define parameter settings for each of the algorithm's parameters as well as the problem instances that these should be applied to. Keep an eye on the number of variations as this can lead to huge experiments that potentially become too big for your computer's memory.
     42
     43[[Image(create_experiment_parameter.png, align=left)]]
     44[[Image(create_experiment_problem.png, align=right)]]
    6445
    6546[=#PluginManager]
    66 == 6. Plugin Infrastructure ==
    67 The [[PluginManagerConsole| Plugin Manager Console]] allows you to install/remove plugins and upgrade your plugins when new versions become available.
    68 
    69 == 7. Operators ==
    70 Each algorithm consists of a sequence of clearly defined, unambiguous and executable instructions. We call these atomic building blocks '''operators'''. A [[Operators| list]] of the most important operators is available in the wiki and we try to update it frequently. If the operator you are looking for is not documented there we recommend having a look at the description of the operator in the Optimizer. The description is usually sufficient to apply the operator successfully.
    71 
    72 == 8. Testing and Analysis ==
    73  * [[Batch Run]]: A run in which an algorithm is executed a given number of times (repetitions).
    74  * [[Experiment]]: An experiment which contains multiple batch runs of algorithms.
    75 
    76 == 9. Feedback ==
    77 Any feedback, questions, problems or requests for new features? Please have a look at our [wiki:UsersSupport support & feedback] wiki page to see how to contact the HeuristicLab development team.
     47== 5. Plugin Infrastructure ==
     48The plugin manager console allows you to view all loaded plugins and also identify problems when plugins cannot be loaded, for instance because of a dependency problem or missing files.