Evolutionary synthesis of stochastic gene network models using feature-based search spaces
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A feature-based fitness function is applied in a genetic programming system to synthesize stochastic gene regulatory network models whose behaviour is defined by a time course of protein expression levels. Typically, when targeting time series data, the fitness function is based on a sum-of-errors involving the values of the fluctuating signal. While this approach is successful in many instances, its performance can deteriorate in the presence of noise. This thesis explores a fitness measure determined from a set of statistical features characterizing the time series' sequence of values, rather than the actual values themselves. Through a series of experiments involving symbolic regression with added noise and gene regulatory network models based on the stochastic 'if-calculus, it is shown to successfully target oscillating and non-oscillating signals. This practical and versatile fitness function offers an alternate approach, worthy of consideration for use in algorithms that evaluate noisy or stochastic behaviour.