Skip to contents

irace 3.5

New features and improvements

  • Handling of dependent parameter domains: These should be specified in the parameter domain definition and, for now, only numerical parameter can define dependent domains. A numerical domain can be dependent on one bound, e.g. (1, param1*2)), where the dependent bound can include basic arithmetic operators. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Added support for HTCondor cluster framework to --batchmode. (Filippo Bistaffa)

  • New scenario option minMeasurableTime (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The user-guide now contains a detailed section on “Hyper-parameter optimization of machine learning methods”. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • When testType="F-test" and only two configurations remain, the elimination test now uses the pseudo-median estimated by the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to decide which configuration is the best one instead of comparing the median difference. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New functions testing_fromlog() and testing_fromfile() for independently executing the testing phase. The function testing.main() was removed as it is superseded by the new ones. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • irace2pyimp moved to its own R package. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Generating the file irace.Rdata may be disabled by setting logFile="". (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Johann Dreo)

  • path_rel2abs() and checkParameters() are now exported so that other packages may use them. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The package provides a irace.sindef file that may be used for building a standalone container of irace using Singularity. See the file for instructions. (Contributed by Johann Dreo)

  • readConfigurationsFile() will now detect duplicated configurations and error. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New example examples/target-runner-python/target-runner-python-win.bat contributed by Levi Ribeiro.

  • path_rel2abs() also searches in system paths. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New scenario options targetRunnerLauncher and targetRunnerLauncherArgs to help in cases where the target-runner must be invoked via another software with particular options (such as python.exe in Windows). (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • --check now also check the contents of configurationsFile and runs configurations provided via initConfigurations. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Andreea Avramescu)

  • The package now provides an ablation executable (ablation.exe in Windows) that makes easier to perform ablation analysis without having any R knowledge.

  • The interface to functions ablation() and plotAblation() has been simplified. The ablation() function now allows overriding scenario settings. The plotAblation() function will not create the plot if the ablation log does not reflect a complete ablation. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The interface to functions getFinalElites(), getConfigurationById() and getConfigurationByIteration() has been simplified.

  • An error is produced if a variable set in the scenario file is not known to irace. If your scenario file contains R code, then use variable names beginning with a dot '.', which will be ignored by irace. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New option --init to initialize a scenario. (Deyao Chen)

  • configurationsBoxplot() replaced by iraceplot::boxplot_training() and iraceplot::boxplot_test(). (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • parallelCoordinatesPlot() replaced by iraceplot::parallel_cat() and iraceplot::parallel_coord(). (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • parameterFrequency() replaced by iraceplot::sampling_frequency(). (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New function read_logfile() to easily read the log file produced by irace. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New helper script in bin/parallel-irace-slurm to launch irace in SLURM computer clusters. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)


  • Correctly handle clear out-performance cases despite strong bi-modality. (Reported by Nguyen Dang, fixed by Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix error when recovering from a parallel run on Windows. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Tarek Gamal)

  • testNbElites now controls how many iteration elites are tested when testIterationElites=1. This is the documented behavior in the user guide. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Marcelo de Souza)

  • Fixes to the Matlab example. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The default of testType was not set to t-test when capping was enabled. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Jovana Radjenovic)

  • Fix various issues in the user guide. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Jovana Radjenovic)

  • Remove duplicated elites. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Federico Naldini)

  • Fix (#7): warnings with partial matched parameters. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Marc Becker)

  • Fix (#10): wrong assert with elitist=0. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix (#13): Maximum number configurations immediately rejected reached. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix: when setting the scenario file in the command-line, scenarioFile was not set correctly. The correct scenario was used, however, the debug output and the value stored in the log / recovery file was wrong. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, reported by Richard Schoonhoven)

  • With sampleInstances = FALSE, elitist irace does not change the order of instances already seen. However, if you want to make sure that the order of the instances is enforced, you also need to set elitistNewInstances=0.

  • The function irace.usage() was removed. It was not really useful for R users as the same result can be obtained by calling irace.cmdline("--help"). (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 3.4.1 (31/03/2020)

CRAN release: 2020-03-31

  • NEWS converted to markdown.

  • Fix CRAN error on Solaris.

irace 3.4 (30/03/2020)

CRAN release: 2020-03-30

  • irace2pyimp function and executable (irace2pyimp.exe on Windows) to convert .Rdata files generated by irace to the input files required by the parameter importance analysis tool PyImp ( (Nguyen Dang, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Initial configurations may also be provided directly in R using scenario$initConfigurations (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Rdata files are saved in version 2 to keep compatibility with older R versions. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix invalid assert with ordered parameters: (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

    value >= 1L && value <= length(possibleValues) is not TRUE
  • The irace executable (irace.exe on Windows) is a compiled binary instead of a script. On Windows, irace.exe replaces irace.bat (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • inst/examples/Spear contains the Spear (SAT solver) configuration scenario. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fixed bug when reporting minimum maxTime required. (Reported by Luciana Salete Buriol, fixed by Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fixed bug detected by assert:

    all(apply(!$experiments), 1, any)) is not TRUE

    (Reported by Maxim Buzdalov, fixed by Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 3.3 (26/04/2019)

CRAN release: 2019-04-26

  • Fix buggy test that breaks CRAN. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Do not print “23:59:59” when wall-clock time is actually close to zero. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 3.2 (24/04/2019)

CRAN release: 2019-04-24

  • Fix irace --check --parallel 2 on Windows. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Values of real-valued parameter are now printed with sufficient precision to satisfy digits (up to digits=15). (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • It is possible to specify boundMax without capping. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • irace --check will exit with code 1 if the check is unsuccessful (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Print where irace is installed with --help. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • irace will now complain if the output of target-runner or target-evaluator contains extra lines even if the first line of output is correct. This is to avoid parsing the wrong output. Unfortunately, this may break setups that relied on this behavior. The solution is to only print the output that irace expects. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Completely re-implement log parameters to fix several bugs. Domains that contain zero or negative values are now rejected. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New option aclib= (--aclib 1) enables compatibility with the GenericWrapper4AC ( used by AClib ( This is EXPERIMENTAL. --aclib 1 also sets digits to 15 for compatibility with AClib defaults. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix printing of output when capping is enabled. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • checkTargetFiles() (--check) samples an instance unless sampleInstances is FALSE. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix symbol printed in elimination test. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Use dynGet() to find targetRunner and targetEvaluator. As a result, we now require R >= 3.2. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • All tests now use testthat. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New function scenario.update.paths() (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix assert failure that may happen when elitistNewInstances is larger than firstTest. Reported by Jose Riveaux. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix bug in checkTargetFiles() (--check) with capping. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Clarify a few errors/warnings when maxTime > 0. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, suggested by Haroldo Gambini Santos)

irace 3.1 (12/07/2018)

CRAN release: 2018-07-12

  • Use testthat for unit testing. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Allow instances to be a list of arbitrary R objects (mlr bugfix). (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 3.0 (05/07/2018)

CRAN release: 2018-07-05

  • irace now supports adaptive capping for computation time minimization. The default value of the testType option is t-test when adaptive capping is enabled. Please see the user-guide for details. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The package contains an ablation() function implementing the ablation method for parameter importance analysis by Fawcett and Hoos (2016). (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New option postselection executes a post-selection race. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • At the end of each race, if the race stops before evaluating all instances seen in previous races, then the best overall may be different than the best of the race. We now print the best overall (best-so-far). Elites evaluated on more instances are considered better than those evaluated on fewer. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Last active parameter values of numerical parameters (i and r) are carried by the sampling model. When a value must be assigned and the parameter was previously not active, the sampling is performed around the last value. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • R help pages are now generated with Roxygen2. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The user guide documents --version, --help, and --check. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • A return value of Inf from targetRunner/targetEvaluation results in the immediate rejection of the configuration without any further evaluation. This is useful for handling unreliable or broken configurations that should not stop irace. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Numerical parameters may be sampled on a logarithmic scale using i,log or r,log. (Alberto Franzin)

  • New target-runner.bat for Windows contributed by André de Souza Andrade.

  • Fixed all shell scripts calling functions before defining them, which is not portable. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fixed --parallel bug in Windows that resulted in Error in checkForRemoteErrors(val). (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Improve error message when no training instances are given. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 2.4 (03/08/2017)

CRAN release: 2017-08-03

  • The output of irace now specifies in which order, if any, configurations are printed. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, suggested by Markus Wagner)

  • Several fixes for handling paths in Windows. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • readConfigurationsFile() now has a text= argument, which allows reading configurations from a string. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • User-provided functions (targetRunner, targetEvaluator and repairConfiguration) and user-provided conditions for forbidden configurations are now byte-compiled when read, which should make their evaluation noticeably faster. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The argument 'experiment' passed to the R function targetRunner does not contain anymore an element 'extra.params'. Similarly, the 'scenario' structure does not contain anymore the elements 'instances.extra.params' and 'testInstances.extra.params'. Any instance-specific parameters values now form part of the character string that defines an instance and it is up to the user-defined targetRunner to parse them appropriately. These changes make no difference when targetRunner is an external script, or when instances and instance-specific parameter values are read from a file. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 2.3

CRAN release: 2017-04-26

  • Fix bug that will cause iraceResults$experimentLog to count calls to targetEvaluator as experiments, even if no call to targetRunner was performed. This does not affect the computation of the budget consumed and, thus, it does not affect the termination criteria of irace. The bug triggers an assertion that terminates irace, thus no run that was successful with version 2.2 is affected. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 2.2

CRAN release: 2017-03-24

  • Command-line parameters are printed to stdout (useful for future replications). (Manuel López-Ibáñez, suggested by Markus Wagner)

  • Users may provide a function to repair configurations before being evaluated. See the scenario variable repairConfiguration. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The option --sge-cluster (sgeCluster) was removed and replaced by --batchmode (batchmode). It is now the responsibility of the target-runner to parse the output of the batch job submission command (e.g., qsub or squeue), and return just the job ID. Values supported are: “sge”, “torque”, “pbs” and “slurm”. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The option --parallel can now be combined with --batchmode to limit the number of jobs submitted by irace at once. This may be useful in batch clusters that have a small queue of jobs. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New examples under inst/examples/batchmode-cluster/. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • It is now possible to include scenario definition files from other scenario files by using:

    eval.parent(source("scenario-common.txt", chdir = TRUE, local = TRUE))

    This feature is VERY experimental and the syntax is likely to change in the future. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix a bug that re-executed elite results under some circumstances. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Restrict the number of maximum configurations per race to 1024. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Do not warn if the last line in the instance file does not terminate with a newline. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix bug when deterministic == 1. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Update manual and vignette with details about the expected arguments and return value of targetRunner and targetEvaluator. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Many updates to the User Guide vignette. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix \dontrun example in irace-package.Rd (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix bug: If testInstances contains duplicates, results of testing are not correctly saved in iraceResults$testing$experiments nor reported correctly at the end of a run. Now unique IDs of the form 1t, 2t, ... are used for each testing instance. These IDs are used for the rownames of iraceResults$testing$experiments and the names of the scenario$testInstances and iraceResults$testing$seeds vectors. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix bug where irace keeps retrying the target-runner call even if it succeeds. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New command-line parameter

       --only-test FILE

which just evaluates the configurations given in FILE on the testing instances defined by the scenario. Useful if you decide on the testing instances only after running irace. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Bugfix: When using maxTime != 0, the number of experiments performed may be miscounted in some cases. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 2.1

CRAN release: 2016-10-18

  • Fix CRAN errors in tests. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Avoid generating too many configurations at once if the initial time estimation is too small. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 2.0

CRAN release: 2016-10-08

  • Minimum R version is 2.15.

  • Elitist irace by default, it can be disabled with parameter --elitist 0. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The parameter --test-type gains two additional values: (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

    • t-test-bonferroni (t-test with Bonferroni’s correction for multiple comparisons),
    • t-test-holm (t-test with Holm’s correction for multiple comparisons)
  • MPI does not create log files with --debug-level 0. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • For simplicity, the parallel-irace-* scripts do not use an auxiliary tune-main script. For customizing them, make a copy and edit them directly. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New parameters: (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

--target-runner-retries : Retry target-runner this many times in case of error.
  • We print diversity measures after evaluating on each instance: (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

    • Kendall’s W (also known as Kendall’s coefficient of concordance) If 1, all candidates have ranked in the same order in all instances. If 0, the ranking of each candidate on each instance is essentially random.

          W = Friedman / (m * (k-1))
    • Spearman’s rho: average (Spearman) correlation coefficient computed on the ranks of all pairs of raters. If there are no repeated data values, a perfect Spearman correlation of +1 or -1 occurs when each of the variables is a perfect monotone function of the other.

  • Many internal and external interfaces have changed. For example, now we consistently use ‘scenario’ to denote the settings passed to irace and ‘configuration’ instead of ‘candidate’ to denote the parameter settings passed to the target algorithm. Other changes are:

   parameters$boundary -> parameters$domain
   hookRun             -> targetRunner
   hookEvaluate        -> targetEvaluator
   tune-conf           -> scenario.txt
   instanceDir         -> trainInstancesDir
   instanceFile        -> trainInstancesFile
   testInstanceDir     -> testInstancesDir
   testInstanceFile    -> testInstancesFile
  • Minimal example of configuring a MATLAB program (thanks to Esteban Diaz Leiva)

  • Paths to files or directories given in the scenario file are relative to the scenario file (except for --log-file, which is an output file and it is relative to --exec-dir). Paths given in the command-line are relative to the current working directory. Given

      $ cat scenario/scenario.txt
      targetRunner <- "./target-runner"
      $ irace -s scenario/scenario.txt

irace will search for "./scenario/target-runner", but given

      $ irace -s scenario/scenario.txt --target-runner ./target-runner

irace will search for "./target-runner". (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New command-line wrapper for Windows installed at system.file("bin/irace.bat", package="irace") (thanks to Anthony Antoun)

  • Budget can be specified as maximum time (maxTime, --max-time) consumed by the target algorithm. See the documentation for the details about how this is handled. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 1.07

CRAN release: 2015-09-11

  • The best configurations found, either at the end or at each iteration of an irace run, can now be applied to a set of test instances different from the training instances. See options testInstanceDir, testInstanceFile, testNbElites, and testIterationElites. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The R interfaces of hookRun, hookEvaluate and hookRunParallel have changed. See help( and help(hook.evaluate.default) for examples of the new interfaces.

  • Printing of race progress now reports the actual configuration and instance IDs, and numbers are printed in a more human-readable format. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Reduce memory use for very large values of maxExperiments. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, thanks to Federico Caselli for identifying the issue)

  • New option --load-balancing (loadBalancing) for disabling load-balancing when executing jobs in parallel. Load-balancing makes better use of computing resources, but increases communication overhead. If this overhead is large, disabling load-balancing may be faster. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, thanks to Federico Caselli for identifying the issue)

  • The option --parallel in Windows now uses load-balancing by default. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The wall-clock time after finishing each task is printed in the output. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, thanks to Federico Caselli for providing an initial patch)

irace 1.06

CRAN release: 2014-11-26

  • Fix bug that could introduce spurious whitespace when printing the final configurations. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Fix bug if there are more initial candidates than needed for the first race. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New configuration options, mainly for R users:

    • hookRunParallel: Optional R function to provide custom parallelization of

    • hookRunData: Optional data passed to hookRun. This is ignored by the default hookRun function, but it may be used by custom hookRun R functions to pass persistent data around. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 1.05

CRAN release: 2014-07-10

  • New option --version. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Terminate early if there is no sufficient budget to run irace with the given settings. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • The option --parallel (without --mpi) now works under Windows. (Manuel López-Ibáñez, thanks to Pablo Valledor Pellicer for testing it)

  • Improved error handling when running under Rmpi. Now irace will terminate as soon as the master node detects at least one failed slave node. This avoids irace reporting two times the same error. Also, irace will print all the unique errors returned by all slaves and not just the first one. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Forbidden configurations may be specified in terms of constraints on their values. Forbidden configurations will never be evaluated by irace. See --forbidden-file and inst/templates/forbidden.tmpl. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • New option --recovery-file (recoveryFile) allows resuming a previous irace run. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • The confidence level for the elimination test is now configurable with parameter --confidence. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres)

  • Much more robust handling of relative/absolute paths. Improved support for Windows. (Leslie Pérez Cáceres, Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • Provide better error messages for incorrect parameter descriptions. (Manuel López-Ibáñez) Examples:

    x "" i (0, 0)       # lower and upper bounds are the same
    x "" r (1e-4, 5e-4) # given digits=2, ditto
    x "" i (-1, -2)     # lower bound must be smaller than upper bound
    x "" c ("a", "a")   # duplicated values
  • Print elapsed time for calls to hook-run if debugLevel >=1. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

  • examples/hook-run-python/hook-run: A multi-purpose hook-run written in Python. (Franco Mascia)

  • Parallel mode in an SGE cluster (--sge-cluster) is more robust. (Manuel López-Ibáñez)

irace 1.04

CRAN release: 2013-06-09

  • Replace obsolete package multicore by package parallel (requires R >= 2.14.0)

  • Use load-balancing (mc.preschedule = FALSE) in mclapply.

irace 1.03

CRAN release: 2013-01-15

  • Use reg.finalizer to finish Rmpi properly without clobbering .Last().

  • Remove uses of deprecated as.real().

  • Nicer error handling in readParameters().

  • Add hypervolume (multi-objective) example.

  • Fix several bugs in the computation of similar candidates.

irace 1.02

CRAN release: 2012-10-12

  • More concise output.

  • The parameters expName and expDescription are now useless and they were removed.

  • Faster computation of similar candidates (Jeremie Dubois-Lacoste and Leslie Pérez Cáceres).

  • Fix bug when saving instances in tunerResults$experiments.

  • irace.cmdline ("--help") does not try to quit R anymore.

irace 1.01

CRAN release: 2012-03-19

  • Fix bug caused by file.exists (and possibly other functions) not handling directory names with a trailing backslash or slash on Windows.

  • Fix bug using per-instance parameters (Leslie Pérez Cáceres).

  • Fix bug when reading initial candidates from a file.