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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?

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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).

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