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Let us suppose that we have a mutation rate of 5%. What does this mean?

  • Each gene of each individual has 5% of probability of change to another value? At the end, around 5% of the genes of each individual in the population will be changed.
  • Each individual in the population has 5% of probability of having a random gene changed to antoher value? At the end, 5% of the population will have a change in some of its genes.

Besides that...Should I apply the mutation operator over all individuals or only to the children generated by the crossover operator?

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In general each child is mutated separately, only once at 'birth', and not during their 'adulthood'. Depending on how individuals are specified, '5% mutation' might mean that a random 5% of the bits in the individual's source code are flipped.

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The mutation rate represent how probable is that a individual changes by himself. Then, you can specify how much possible is to an individual to change in a mutation (how many gens change etc). A individual can mutate on each epoch based on that probability. With this, we try to potentiate the "exploration" in order to search solutions on a different way and avoid local minimums.

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