Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Oktay Baysal

Committee Member

Ali Beskok

Committee Member

Gene Hou

Committee Member

Abdurrahman Hacioglu


The purpose of optimization is to obtain the best solution under certain conditions. There are numerous optimization methods because different problems need different solution methodologies; therefore, it is difficult to construct patterns. Also mathematical modeling of a natural phenomenon is almost based on differentials. Differential equations are constructed with relative increments among the factors related to yield. Therefore, the gradients of these increments are essential to search the yield space. However, the landscape of yield is not a simple one and mostly multi-modal. Another issue is differentiability. Engineering design problems are usually nonlinear and they sometimes exhibit discontinuous derivatives for the objective and constraint functions. Due to these difficulties, non-gradient-based algorithms have become more popular in recent decades.

Genetic algorithms (GA) and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithms are popular, non-gradient based algorithms. Both are population-based search algorithms and have multiple points for initiation. A significant difference from a gradient-based method is the nature of the search methodologies. For example, randomness is essential for the search in GA or PSO. Hence, they are also called stochastic optimization methods. These algorithms are simple, robust, and have high fidelity. However, they suffer from similar defects, such as, premature convergence, less accuracy, or large computational time. The premature convergence is sometimes inevitable due to the lack of diversity. As the generations of particles or individuals in the population evolve, they may lose their diversity and become similar to each other. To overcome this issue, we studied the diversity concept in GA and PSO algorithms.

Diversity is essential for a healthy search, and mutations are the basic operators to provide the necessary variety within a population. After having a close scrutiny of the diversity concept based on qualification and quantification studies, we improved new mutation strategies and operators to provide beneficial diversity within the population. We called this new approach as multi-frequency vibrational GA or PSO. They were applied to different aeronautical engineering problems in order to study the efficiency of these new approaches. These implementations were: applications to selected benchmark test functions, inverse design of two-dimensional (2D) airfoil in subsonic flow, optimization of 2D airfoil in transonic flow, path planning problems of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over a 3D terrain environment, 3D radar cross section minimization problem for a 3D air vehicle, and active flow control over a 2D airfoil.

As demonstrated by these test cases, we observed that new algorithms outperform the current popular algorithms. The principal role of this multi-frequency approach was to determine which individuals or particles should be mutated, when they should be mutated, and which ones should be merged into the population. The new mutation operators, when combined with a mutation strategy and an artificial intelligent method, such as, neural networks or fuzzy logic process, they provided local and global diversities during the reproduction phases of the generations. Additionally, the new approach also introduced random and controlled diversity. Due to still being population-based techniques, these methods were as robust as the plain GA or PSO algorithms. Based on the results obtained, it was concluded that the variants of the present multi-frequency vibrational GA and PSO were efficient algorithms, since they successfully avoided all local optima within relatively short optimization cycles.