Metaheuristics such as Estimation of Distribution Algorithms and the Cross-Entropy method use probabilistic modelling and inference to generate candidate solutions in optimization problems. The model fitting task in this class of algorithms has largely been carried out to date based on maximum likelihood. An alternative approach that is prevalent in statistics and machine learning is to use Bayesian inference. In this paper, we provide a framework for the application of Bayesian inference techniques in probabilistic model-based optimization. Based on this framework, a simple continuous Bayesian Estimation of Distribution Algorithm is described. We evaluate and compare this algorithm experimentally with its maximum likelihood equivalent, UMDAcG.
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