The initial stages of reliability-based design optimization involve the formulation of objective functions and constraints, and building a model to estimate the reliability of the design with quantified uncertainties. However, even experienced hands often overlook important objective functions and constraints that affect the design. In addition, uncertainty reduction measures, such as tests and redesign, are often not considered in reliability calculations during the initial stages. This research considers two areas that concern the design of engineering systems:

  1. the trade-off of the effect of a test and post-test redesign on reliability and cost
  2. the search for multiple candidate designs as insurance against unforeseen faults of some designs

In this research, we developed a methodology to estimate the effect of a single future test and post-test redesign on reliability and cost. The methodology uses assumed distributions of computational and experimental errors with re-design rules to simulate alternative future test and redesign outcomes to form a probabilistic estimate of the reliability and cost for a given design. Further, we explored how modeling a future test and redesign provides a company an opportunity to balance development costs versus performance by simultaneously designing the design and the post-test redesign rules during the initial design stage.

The second area of this research considers the use of dynamic local surrogates to locate multiple candidate designs. Surrogate-based global optimization algorithms often require search in multiple candidate regions of design space, expending most of the computation needed to define multiple alternate designs. Thus, focusing on solely locating the best design may be wasteful. We extended adaptive sampling surrogate techniques to locate multiple optima by building local surrogates in sub-regions of the design space to identify optima. The method was shown to be efficient at locating multiple candidate designs in a problem with a design space with small discontinuous regions of feasibility with a single objective.