Copyright © 2010 Hanning Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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This paper presents a novel optimization model called hierarchical swarm optimization (HSO), which simulates the natural hierarchical complex system from where more complex intelligence can emerge for complex problems solving. This proposed model is intended to suggest ways that the performance of HSO-based algorithms on complex optimization problems can be significantly improved. This performance improvement is obtained by constructing the HSO hierarchies, which means that an agent in a higher level swarm can be composed of swarms of other agents from lower level and different swarms of different levels evolve on different spatiotemporal scale. A novel optimization algorithm (named ), based on the HSO model, is instantiated and tested to illustrate the ideas of HSO model clearly. Experiments were conducted on a set of 17 benchmark optimization problems including both continuous and discrete cases. The results demonstrate remarkable performance of the algorithm on all chosen benchmark functions when compared to several successful swarm intelligence and evolutionary algorithms.