We have compared the performances of six recently developed global optimization algorithms: imperialist competitive algorithm, firefly algorithm (FA), water cycle algorithm (WCA), whale optimization algorithm (WOA), fireworks algorithm (FWA), and quantum particle swarm optimization (QPSO). These methods have been introduced in the past few years and have found very limited or no applications to geophysical exploration problems thus far. We benchmark the algorithms’ results against the particle swarm optimization (PSO), which is a popular and well-established global search method. In particular, we are interested in assessing the exploration and exploitation capabilities of each method as the dimension of the model space increases. First, we test the different algorithms on two multiminima and two convex analytic objective functions. Then, we compare them using the residual statics corrections and 1D elastic full-waveform inversion, which are highly nonlinear geophysical optimization problems. Our results demonstrate that FA, FWA, and WOA are characterized by optimal exploration capabilities because they outperform the other approaches in the case of optimization problems with multiminima objective functions. Differently, QPSO and PSO have good exploitation capabilities because they easily solve ill-conditioned optimizations characterized by a nearly flat valley in the objective function. QPSO, PSO, and WCA offer a good compromise between exploitation and exploration.

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