The information processing objective of the technique is to construct a probabilistic model that describes the relationships between the components of fit solutions in the problem space. This is achieved by repeating the process of creating and sampling from a Bayesian network that contains the conditional dependancies, independencies, and conditional probabilities between the components of a solution. The network is constructed from the relative frequencies of the components within a population of high fitness candidate solutions. Once the network is constructed, the candidate solutions are discarded and a new population of candidate solutions are generated from the model. The process is repeated until the model converges on a fit prototype solution.

The following algorithm provides a pseudocode listing of the Bayesian Optimization Algorithm for minimizing a cost function. The Bayesian network is constructed each iteration using a greedy algorithm. The network is assessed based on its fit of the information in the population of candidate solutions using either a Bayesian Dirichlet Metric (BD), or a Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC).

The Bayesian Optimization Algorithm was designed and investigated on binary string-base problems, most commonly representing binary function optimization problems.

Bayesian networks are typically constructed (grown) from scratch each iteration using an iterative process of adding, removing, and reversing links. Additionally, past networks may be used as the basis for the subsequent generation.

A greedy hill-climbing algorithm is used each algorithm iteration to optimize a Bayesian network to represent a population of candidate solutions.