Differential Evolution (DE) is a population-based stochastic global optimization technique proposed by Storn and Price in the middle '90s. Its major advantages are the simplicity, robustness and convergence speed. These characteristics have made differential evolution method popular in diverse areas of science and engineering. This paper provides an overview of state-of-the-art research related to the application of DE algorithms in microwave and communication engineering focusing on methods and techniques in recent patent literature. A theoretical analysis and description of the classical differential evolution algorithm and its most popular variants are also provided. A discussion of future research directions in the area completes the study. This work fills a gap in academic literature and provides to researchers and professional engineers useful information about patented applications of differential evolution. Moreover, it exhibits the potential of evolutionary optimization methods in the solution of real-world problems with immediate relevance and impact on industry.
Keywords: Antennas, coding, communications, differential evolution, digital subscriber line, evolutionary algorithms, filtering, global optimization, magnetic imaging, microwaves, mutation, patent, positioning, radio access, radio frequency identification, self-adaptation, wireless networks.