Meta-heuristic algorithms as tools for hydrological science

Do Guen Yoo, Joong Hoon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, meta-heuristic optimization techniques are introduced and their applications to water resources engineering, particularly in hydrological science are introduced. In recent years, meta-heuristic optimization techniques have been introduced that can overcome the problems inherent in iterative simulations. These methods are able to find good solutions and require limited computation time and memory use without requiring complex derivatives. Simulation-based meta-heuristic methods such as Genetic algorithms (GAs) and Harmony Search (HS) have powerful searching abilities, which can occasionally overcome the several drawbacks of traditional mathematical methods. For example, HS algorithms can be conceptualized from a musical performance process and used to achieve better harmony; such optimization algorithms seek a near global optimum determined by the value of an objective function, providing a more robust determination of musical performance than can be achieved through typical aesthetic estimation. In this paper, meta-heuristic algorithms and their applications (focus on GAs and HS) in hydrological science are discussed by subject, including a review of existing literature in the field. Then, recent trends in optimization are presented and a relatively new technique such as Smallest Small World Cellular Harmony Search (SSWCHS) is briefly introduced, with a summary of promising results obtained in previous studies. As a result, previous studies have demonstrated that meta-heuristic algorithms are effective tools for the development of hydrological models and the management of water resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalGeoscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1


  • Harmony search algorithm
  • Hydrological sciences
  • Meta-heuristic algorithm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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