Sequential optimization and reliability assessment method for efficient probabilistic design

Xiaoping Du*, Wei Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

769 Scopus citations


Probabilistic design, such as reliability-based design and robust design, offers tools for making reliable decisions with the consideration of uncertainty associated with design variables/parameters and simulation models. Since a probabilistic optimization often involves a double-loop procedure for the overall optimization and iterative probabilistic assessment, the computational demand is extremely high. In this paper, the sequential optimization and reliability assessment (SORA) is developed to improve the efficiency of probabilistic optimization. The SORA method employs a single-loop strategy with a serial of cycles of deterministic optimization and reliability assessment. In each cycle, optimization and reliability assessment are decoupled from each other; the reliability assessment is only conducted after the deterministic optimization to verify constraint feasibility under uncertainty. The key to the proposed method is to shift the boundaries of violated constraints (with low reliability) to the feasible direction based on the reliability information obtained in the previous cycle. The design is quickly improved from cycle to cycle and the computational efficiency is improved significantly. Two engineering applications, the reliability-based design for vehicle crashworthiness of side impact and the integrated reliability and robust design of a speed reducer, are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SORA method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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