A multi-objective stochastic approach to combinatorial technology space exploration
Patel, Chirag B.
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Several techniques were studied to select and prioritize technologies for a complex system. Based on the findings, a method called Pareto Optimization and Selection of Technologies (POST) was formulated to efficiently explore the combinatorial technology space. A knapsack problem was selected as a benchmark problem to test-run various algorithms and techniques of POST. A Monte Carlo simulation using the surrogate models was used for uncertainty quantification. The concepts of graph theory were used to model and analyze compatibility constraints among technologies. A probabilistic Pareto optimization, based on the concepts of Strength Pareto Evolutionary Algorithm II (SPEA2), was formulated for Pareto optimization in an uncertain objective space. As a result, multiple Pareto hyper-surfaces were obtained in a multi-dimensional objective space; each hyper-surface representing a specific probability level. These Pareto layers enabled the probabilistic comparison of various non-dominated technology combinations. POST was implemented on a technology exploration problem for a 300 passenger commercial aircraft. The problem had 29 identified technologies with uncertainties in their impacts on the system. The distributions for these uncertainties were defined using beta distributions. Surrogate system models in the form of Response Surface Equations (RSE) were used to map the technology impacts on the system responses. Computational complexity of technology graph was evaluated and it was decided to use evolutionary algorithm for probabilistic Pareto optimization. The dimensionality of the objective space was reduced using a dominance structure preserving approach. Probabilistic Pareto optimization was implemented with reduced number of objectives. Most of the technologies were found to be active on the Pareto layers. These layers were exported to a dynamic visualization environment enabled by a statistical analysis and visualization software called JMP. The technology combinations on these Pareto layers are explored using various visualization tools and one combination is selected. The main outcome of this research is a method based on consistent analytical foundation to create a dynamic tradeoff environment in which decision makers can interactively explore and select technology combinations.