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Title: Generic evolutionary design of solid objects using a genetic algorithm
Author: Bentley, Peter John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3460 6156
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis investigates the novel idea of using a computer to create and optimise conceptual designs of a range of differently-shaped three-dimensional solid objects from scratch. An extensive literature review evaluates all related areas of research and reveals that no such system exists. The development of a generic evolutionary design system, using a genetic algorithm (GA) as its core, is then presented. The thesis describes a number of significant advances necessitated by the development of this system. Firstly, a new low-parameter spatial-partitioning representation of solid objects is introduced, which allows a wide range of solid objects to be appropriately defined and easily manipulated by a GA. Secondly, multiobjective optimisation is investigated to allow users to define design problems without fine-tuning large numbers of weights. As a result of this, the new concepts of acceptability, range-independence and importance are introduced and a new multiobjective ranking method is identified as being most appropriate. Thirdly, variable-length chromosomes in GAs are addressed, to allow the number of primitive shapes that define a design to be variable. This problem is overcome by the use of a new hierarchical crossover operator, which uses the new concept of a semantic hierarchy to reference chromosomes. Additionally, the thesis describes how the performance of the GA is improved by using an explicit mapping stage between genotypes and phenotypes, steady-state reproduction with preferential selection, and a new lifespan limiter. A library of modular evaluation software is also presented, which allows a user to define new design problems quickly and easily by picking combinations of modules to guide the evolution of designs. Finally, the feasibility of the generic evolutionary design of solid objects is demonstrated by presenting the successful evolution of both conventional and unconventional designs for fifteen different solid-object design tasks, e.g. tables, heatsinks, penta-prisms, boat hulls, aerodynamic cars.
Supervisor: Wakefield, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Artificial evolution; Conceptual design