Single and Multiobjective Structural Optimization in Discrete-Continuous Variables Using Simulated Annealing


A multivariable optimization technique based on the Monte-Carlo method used in statistical mechanics studies of condensed systems is adapted for solving single and multiobjective structural optimization problems. This procedure, known as simulated annealing, draws an analogy between energy minimization in physical systems and objective function minimization in structural systems. The search for a minimum is simulated by a relaxation of the statistical mechanical system where a probabilistic acceptance criterion is used to accept or reject candidate designs. To model the multiple objective functions in the problem formulation, a cooperative game theoretic approach is used. Numerical results obtained using three different annealing strategies for the single and multiobjective design of structures with discrete-continuous variables are presented. The influence of cooling schedule parameters on the optimum solutions obtained is discussed. Simulation results indicate that, in several instances, the optimum solutions obtained using simulated annealing outperform the optimum solutions obtained using some gradient-based and discrete optimization techniques. The results also indicate that simulated annealing has substantial potential for additional applications in optimization, especially for problems with mixed discrete-continuous variables.