# Machine Learning Techniques in Optimal Design

- Author:
- Cerbone, Giuseppe
- Published:
- Apr. 1992.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document

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- Many important applications can be formalized as constrained optimization tasks. For example, we are studying the engineering domain of two-dimensional (2-D) structural design. In this task, the goal is to design a structure of minimum weight that bears a set of loads. A solution to a design problem in which there is a single load (L) and two stationary support points (S1 and S2) consists of four members, E1, E2, E3, and E4 that connect the load to the support points is discussed. In principle, optimal solutions to problems of this kind can be found by numerical optimization techniques. However, in practice [Vanderplaats, 1984] these methods are slow and they can produce different local solutions whose quality (ratio to the global optimum) varies with the choice of starting points. Hence, their applicability to real-world problems is severely restricted. To overcome these limitations, we propose to augment numerical optimization by first performing a symbolic compilation stage to produce: (a) objective functions that are faster to evaluate and that depend less on the choice of the starting point and (b) selection rules that associate problem instances to a set of recommended solutions. These goals are accomplished by successive specializations of the problem class and of the associated objective functions. In the end, this process reduces the problem to a collection of independent functions that are fast to evaluate, that can be differentiated symbolically, and that represent smaller regions of the overall search space. However, the specialization process can produce a large number of sub-problems. This is overcome by deriving inductively selection rules which associate problems to small sets of specialized independent sub-problems. Each set of candidate solutions is chosen to minimize a cost function which expresses the tradeoff between the quality of the solution that can be obtained from the sub-problem and the time it takes to produce it. The overall solution to the problem, is then obtained by solving in parallel each of the sub-problems in the set and computing the one with the minimum cost. In addition to speeding up the optimization process, our use of learning methods also relieves the expert from the burden of identifying rules that exactly pinpoint optimal candidate sub-problems. In real engineering tasks it is usually too costly to the engineers to derive such rules. Therefore, this paper also contributes to a further step towards the solution of the knowledge acquisition bottleneck [Feigenbaum, 1977] which has somewhat impaired the construction of rulebased expert systems.
- Other Subject(s):
- Collection:
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Note:
- Document ID: 19960047151.

Accession ID: 96N32913.

Proceedings of the Workshop on Change of Representation and Problem Reformulation; 37-46; NASA-TM-111484. - Terms of Use and Reproduction:
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