Since the notion of a fitness landscape was introduced by Sewell Wright in 1932, fitness landscapes have been studied by evolutionary biologists to better understand how evolution occurs in nature. In a similar way, researchers in evolutionary computation (EC) have used fitness landscapes to better understand the evolutionary process of search. Studies have ranged from theoretical models of fully enumerated combinatorial landscapes to the prediction of algorithm performance based on approximate fitness landscape characteristics. Fitness landscape analysis is a growing field in the EC community, but research has been scattered in widely different publications and conferences. Research papers in fitness landscapes are often incorporated into theoretical tracks of conferences, even when the research is focussed on the practical application of fitness landscape analysis. Alternatively, papers on fitness landscapes may appear alone in specific algorithm tracks, such as swarm intelligence or genetic programming.

The aim of this special session on fitness landscapes is to provide an opportunity to not only bring fitness landscape analysis researchers together at CEC 2016, but also to publish the most recent work in a dedicated track in the proceedings. In addition, the special session should be of interest to researchers and practitioners interested in practically applying fitness landscape analysis techniques to better understand problems and algorithm behaviour.