Abstract

In today's competitive business environment, a firm's ability to make the correct, critical decisions can be translated into a great competitive advantage. Most of these critical real-world decisions involve the optimization not only of multiple objectives simultaneously, but also conflicting objectives, where improving one objective may degrade the performance of one or more of the other objectives. Traditional approaches for solving multiobjective optimization problems typically try to scalarize the multiple objectives into a single objective. This transforms the original multiple optimization problem formulation into a single objective optimization problem with a single solution. However, the drawbacks to these traditional approaches have motivated researchers and practitioners to seek alternative techniques that yield a set of Pareto optimal solutions rather than only a single solution. The problem becomes much more complicated in stochastic environments when the objectives take on uncertain (or "noisy") values due to random influences within the system being optimized, which is the case in real-world environments. Moreover, in stochastic environments, a solution approach should be sufficiently robust and/or capable of handling the uncertainty of the objective values. This makes the development of effective solution techniques that generate Pareto optimal solutions within these problem environments even more challenging than in their deterministic counterparts. Furthermore, many real-world problems involve complicated, "black-box" objective functions making a large number of solution evaluations computationally- and/or financially-prohibitive. This is often the case when complex computer simulation models are used to repeatedly evaluate possible solutions in search of the best solution (or set of solutions). Therefore, multiobjective optimization approaches capable of rapidly finding a diverse set of Pareto optimal solutions would be greatly beneficial. This research proposes two new multiobjective evolutionary algorithms (MOEAs), called fast Pareto genetic algorithm (FPGA) and stochastic Pareto genetic algorithm (SPGA), for optimization problems with multiple deterministic objectives and stochastic objectives, respectively. New search operators are introduced and employed to enhance the algorithmsâ€™ performance in terms of converging fast to the true Pareto optimal frontier while maintaining a diverse set of nondominated solutions along the Pareto optimal front. New concepts of solution dominance are defined for better discrimination among competing solutions in stochastic environments. SPGA uses a solution ranking strategy based on these new concepts. Computational results for a suite of published test problems indicate that both FPGA and SPGA are promising approaches. The results show that both FPGA and SPGA outperform the improved nondominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II), widely-considered benchmark in the MOEA research community, in terms of fast convergence to the true Pareto optimal frontier and diversity among the solutions along the front. The results also show that FPGA and SPGA require far fewer solution evaluations than NSGA-II, which is crucial in computationally-expensive simulation modeling applications.