Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type



Business and Economics


Business Administration

First Advisor

Ramakrishnan Pakath


The Learning Classifier System (LCS) and its descendant, XCS, are promising paradigms for machine learning design and implementation. Whereas LCS allows classifier payoff predictions to guide system performance, XCS focuses on payoff-prediction accuracy instead, allowing it to evolve "optimal" classifier sets in particular applications requiring rational thought. This research examines LCS and XCS performance in artificial situations with broad social/commercial parallels, created using the non-Markov Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD) game-playing scenario, where the setting is sometimes asymmetric and where irrationality sometimes pays. This research systematically perturbs a "conventional" IPD-playing LCS-based agent until it results in a full-fledged XCS-based agent, contrasting the simulated behavior of each LCS variant in terms of a number of performance measures. The intent is to examine the XCS paradigm to understand how it better copes with a given situation (if it does) than the LCS perturbations studied.Experiment results indicate that the majority of the architectural differences do have a significant effect on the agents' performance with respect to the performance measures used in this research. The results of these competitions indicate that while each architectural difference significantly affected its agent's performance, no single architectural difference could be credited as causing XCS's demonstrated superiority in evolving optimal populations. Instead, the data suggests that XCS's ability to evolve optimal populations in the multiplexer and IPD problem domains result from the combined and synergistic effects of multiple architectural differences.In addition, it is demonstrated that XCS is able to reliably evolve the Optimal Population [O] against the TFT opponent. This result supports Kovacs' Optimality Hypothesis in the IPD environment and is significant because it is the first demonstrated occurrence of this ability in an environment other than the multiplexer and Woods problem domains.It is therefore apparent that while XCS performs better than its LCS-based counterparts, its demonstrated superiority may not be attributed to a single architectural characteristic. Instead, XCS's ability to evolve optimal classifier populations in the multiplexer problem domain and in the IPD problem domain studied in this research results from the combined and synergistic effects of multiple architectural differences.



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