Jan 16, 2023 ▪ 12 min read (~1 pages) Computer Science

# Particle Swarm Optimization in Python

## Introduction

Particle swarm optimization (PSO) is a computational method used to find the optimal solution to problems. It is based on the behavior of large groups in nature, such as flocks of birds and swarms of insects, where individuals work together to find food or a new home. In PSO, each possible solution is represented by a particle that moves around in the solution space. The particles are guided by their own best solution (local best), as well as the best solution found by other particles (global best).

### Setup

Install and import dependencies.

import random


## Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO)

### Initialization

The starting particles are randomly placed in the solution space.

def generate_swarm(x_0, n_par):
# dimensions (number of variables)
dimensions = len(x_0)
swarm = []
# generate particles
for i in range(0, n_par):
position = []
# best position
position_best = -1
# particle velocity
velocity = []
# particle error (cost)
error = -1
# best error (cost)
error_best = error
# position and velocity
for i in range(0, dimensions):
position.append(x_0[i])
velocity.append(random.uniform(-1, 1))
# append particle
swarm.append({
"dimensions": dimensions,
"position": position,
"position_best": position_best,
"velocity": velocity,
"error": error,
"error_best": error_best
})

return swarm


A swarm is a list of particles, where each particle is represented as a dictionary (parameters are key-value pairs), n_par is number of particles, and x_0 is starting position (initial guess).

### Velocity update

The velocity of each particle is updated based on its current position, local best position that the particle has encountered so far, and global best position that has been encountered by other particles. The r_1 and r_2 parameters are used to introduce randomness into the movement, which can be useful to prevent getting stuck in local optima.

def update_velocity(velocity, position, position_best, global_pos):
# random bias
r_1 = random.random()
r_2 = random.random()
# update velocity
velocity_cognative = c_1 * r_1 * (position_best - position)
velocity_social = c_2 * r_2 * (global_pos - position)
velocity = weight * velocity + velocity_cognative + velocity_social

return velocity


The configuration variables: constant inertia weight, cognitive constant, social constant, are used to control the movement of the particles in the solution space.

# constant inertia weight
weight = 0.5
# cognative constant
c_1 = 1
# social constant
c_2 = 2


The weight constant is used to control balance between current velocity and previous velocity, c_1 is used to control influence of local best position on movement (cognative constant, higher value is more likely to move towards local best), c_2 is used to control influence of global best position on movement (social constant, higher value is more likely to move towards global best).

### Position update

The position of each particle is updated based on its current velocity.

def update_position(position, velocity):
position = position + velocity

return position


### Evaluation

The fitness of each particle is evaluated using the cost function, which is then used to update velocity and position.

def iterate_swarm(f, swarm, bounds=None, global_best=-1, global_pos=-1):
# iterate particles and evaluate cost function
for j in range(0, len(swarm)):
dimensions = swarm[j]["dimensions"]
position = swarm[j]["position"]
error_best = swarm[j]["error_best"]
# evaluate new error (cost)
error = swarm[j]["error"] = f(position)
# update local best position if current position gives better local error
if (error < error_best or error_best == -1):
swarm[j]["position_best"] = position
swarm[j]["error_best"] = error
position_best = swarm[j]["position_best"]
velocity = swarm[j]["velocity"]
# update global best if position of current particle gives best global error
if (error < global_best or global_best == -1):
global_pos = list(position)
global_best = float(error)
# update particle velocity and position
for i in range(0, dimensions):
velocity[i] = update_velocity(velocity[i], position[i], position_best[i], global_pos[i])
position[i] = update_position(position[i], velocity[i])
# check bounds
if bounds:
# max value for position
if (position[i] > bounds[i]):
position[i] = bounds[i]
# min value for position
if (position[i] < bounds[i]):
position[i] = bounds[i]
# return
return swarm, round(global_best, 2), [round(pos, 2) for pos in global_pos]


## Running PSO

In the below examples, the maximum number of iterations is set to 50, which should be enough, and random seed is set to 1234, so that the algorithm will generate the same result given the same configuration variables.

MAX_ITERATIONS = 50

random.seed(1234)


### Example 1: single variable with bounds

In this example, the cost function is x ** 5 - 3 * x ** 4 + 5, where x-range is [0, 4] (note that x: [x_1, x_2, ..., x_n]).

# minimize x^5 - 3x^4 + 5 over [0, 4]
def f(x):
return x ** 5 - 3 * x ** 4 + 5

# reset global
global_best = -1
global_pos = -1
# initial swarm
swarm = generate_swarm(x_0=, n_par=15)
# iterate swarm
for i in range(MAX_ITERATIONS):
swarm, global_best, global_pos = iterate_swarm(f, swarm, bounds=[(0, 4)], global_best=global_best, global_pos=global_pos)
print((global_best, global_pos))
# (-14.91, [2.4])

assert (global_best, global_pos) == (-14.91, [2.4])


### Example 2: multiple variables

In this example, the cost function is -(5 + 3 * x - 4 * x - x ** 2 + x * x - x ** 2) with no bounds.

# minimize -(5 + 3x - 4y - x^2 + x y - y^2)
def f(x):
return -(5 + 3 * x - 4 * x - x ** 2 + x * x - x ** 2)

# reset global
global_best = -1
global_pos = -1
# initial swarm
swarm = generate_swarm(x_0=[5, 5], n_par=15)
# iterate swarm
for i in range(MAX_ITERATIONS):
swarm, global_best, global_pos = iterate_swarm(f, swarm, global_best=global_best, global_pos=global_pos)
print((global_best, global_pos))
# (-9.33, [0.67, -1.67])

assert (global_best, global_pos) == (-9.33, [0.67, -1.67])