Published on Tue Feb 04 2020

Changyu Deng, Yizhou Wang, Can Qin, Wei Lu

Topology optimization by optimally distributing materials in a given domain requires gradient-free optimizers to solve highly complicated problems. With hundreds of design variables or more involved, solving such problems would require millions of Finite Element Method (FEM) calculations whose computational cost is huge and impractical.

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Topology optimization by optimally distributing materials in a given domain requires gradient-free optimizers to solve highly complicated problems. However, with hundreds of design variables or more involved, solving such problems would require millions of Finite Element Method (FEM) calculations whose computational cost is huge and impractical. Here we report a Self-directed Online Learning Optimization (SOLO) which integrates Deep Neural Network (DNN) with FEM calculations. A DNN learns and substitutes the objective as a function of design variables. A small amount of training data is generated dynamically based on the DNN's prediction of the global optimum. The DNN adapts to the new training data and gives better prediction in the region of interest until convergence. Our algorithm was tested by compliance minimization problems and fluid-structure optimization problems. It reduced the computational time by 2~5 orders of magnitude compared with directly using heuristic methods, and outperformed all state-of-the-art algorithms tested in our experiments. This approach enables solving large multi-dimensional optimization problems.