# What is the difference between the study of evolutionary algorithms and optimization?

I have a course named "Evolutionary Algorithms", but our teacher is always mentioning the word "optimization" in his lectures.

I am confused. Is he actually teaching optimization? If yes, why is the name of the course not "Optimization"?

What is the difference between the study of evolutionary algorithms and optimization?

## 1 Answer

Optimization problems are formally defined by two things:

1. Optimization objective: $$\min_{x \in \mathbb{R}} f(x)$$
2. List of constraints: $$\text{s.t. } x > 0$$; $$\text{s.t. } x^2 < 100$$, ...

Optimization theory as a field deals with variations of such problems. The algorithms that are part of optimization include gradient descent and variants, the simplex algorithm, simulated annealing and many more. I would also include evolutionary algorithms as one of the algorithms in this field.

I am confused. Is he actually teaching optimization? If yes, why is the name of the course not "Optimization"?

Evolutionary algorithms are a subfield of optimization. The name of the course is evolutionary algorithms as you likely don't deal with the other aspects of optimization theory (e.g. the algorithms mentioned above).