CAREER: A Performance-Based Multi-Objective Optimization Framework to Define Innovative Structural Concepts and Support the Seismic Design of Critical Buildings

Project: Research project

Project Details


The research objective of this Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program award is to integrate performance-based design and multi-objective optimization into a single computational framework to support the seismic design of critical buildings. The emphasis is placed on critical buildings, such as acute care hospitals and emergency response centers, because these buildings play a key role in a community's response to an earthquake event and subsequent recovery. Disruption to the functionality of these buildings can have cascading effects resulting in significant societal losses. Although the focus here is on the seismic design of critical buildings, the integrated framework developed will be adaptable to all types of buildings and various natural hazards. Performance-based seismic design (PBSD) provides decision variables for post-event functionality or economic loss. However, the PBSD process is likely to lead to a satisfactory but not necessarily optimal design solution. Furthermore, the heuristic nature of the PBSD process does not provide understanding of the tradeoffs of robustness and cost-effectiveness. This research will pursue an integrated computational framework that simultaneously identifies innovative structural concepts and tradeoffs between conflicting design objectives to support decision-making.

The study will develop a computational framework that integrates probabilistic seismic performance assessment methodology and multi-objective algorithms. The integrated framework will be tested and validated in three phases. Each phase involves an increased level of mathematical modeling and computational complexity. In conjunction with the second phase, an improved hospital functionality model will be developed and incorporated into the framework to gain insights about how physical damage affects functionality and to identify innovative seismic protective system concepts that maximize post-event functionality while balancing conflicting design objectives, such as minimizing building cost. Following the third phase, a global variance-based sensitivity analysis will be performed on the integrated performance-based multi-objective optimization framework to understand how uncertainties in model factors propagate through the framework. The integrated educational activities are designed to address the need for understanding how to engineer complex systems at all levels of education. These activities include various techniques to reveal tradeoffs between conflicting objectives and techniques to identify balanced multiple conflicting objectives. The educational activities target groups ranging from K-12 students to K-12 educators to doctoral students and have been designed around engineering problems appropriate for each educational level.

Effective start/end date7/1/149/30/20


  • National Science Foundation: $400,000.00


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