Optimal Design of Water Distribution Systems Using Many-Objective Visual Analytics


This paper reports the use of many-objective optimization for water distribution system (WDS) design or rehabilitation problems. The term many-objective optimization refers to optimization with four or more objectives. The increase in the number of objectives brings new challenges for both optimization and visualization. This study uses a multiobjective evolutionary algorithm termed the epsilon Nondominated Sorted Genetic Algorithm II (epsilon-NSGAII) and interactive visual analytics to reveal and explore the tradeoffs for the Anytown network problem. The many-objective formulation focuses on a suite of six objectives, as follows: (1) capital cost, (2) operating cost, (3) hydraulic failure, (4) leakage, (5) water age, and (6) fire-fighting capacity. These six objectives are optimized based on decisions related to pipe sizing, tank siting, tank sizing, and pump scheduling under five different loading conditions. Solving the many-objective formulation reveals complex tradeoffs that would not be revealed in a lower-dimensional optimization problem. Visual analytics are used to explore these complex tradeoffs and identify solutions that simultaneously improve the overall WDS performance but with reduced capital and operating costs. This paper demonstrates that a many-objective visual analytics approach has clear advantages and benefits in supporting more informed, transparent decision-making in the WDS design process.