I can whole-heatedly recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in this type of optimisation technique.
Genetic algorithms (GAs) are based on Darwin's principles of natural evolution and are only a recent development in the field of computer science. John Holland in 1975 is credited with the first work which linked Darwin and computer science and David Goldberg developed this area in the mid eighties and beyond. Having said that, the seminal paper really belongs to Charles Darwin for his work of 1859 entitled The Origin of Species .
There are only a handful of recognised textbooks in this area (e.g. Holland, Goldberg, Davis, Mitchell) and this is set to become another. The book is clearly geared towards under- and post-graduates. In fact the author is well known in the academic community for the works published in this area.
The book firstly covers why you would need to use genetic algorithms (because the problems are NP-Hard) and explains why, in these circumstances we need to use heuristics methods to solve the problem, rather than an exhaustive approach.
Following this, the principles behind GAs are explained together with the common terms and techniques used.
Various types of problems are discussed with some sample applications (bin packing, for example, which was recently discussed on these pages).
I must admit to a private interest in this book (I am a GA researcher) but as such I feel I know the area fairly well and I can whole-heatedly recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in this type of optimisation technique.