Application of an Improved Genetic Algorithm for Optimal Design of Planar Steel Frames
Genetic Algorithm (GA) is one of the most widely used optimization algorithms. This algorithm consists of five stages, namely population generation, crossover, mutation, evaluation, and selection. This study presents a modified version of GA called Improved Genetic Algorithm (IGA) for the optimization of steel frame designs. In the IGA, the rate of convergence to the optimal solution is increased by splitting the population generation process to two stages. In the first stage, the initial population is generated by random selection of members from among AISC W-shapes. The generated population is then evaluated in another stage, where the member that does not satisfy the design constraints are replaced with stronger members with larger cross sectional area. This process continues until all design constraints are satisfied. Through this process, the initial population will be improved intelligently so that the design constraints fall within the allowed range. For performance evaluation and comparison, the method was used to design and optimize 10-story and 24-story frames based on the LRFD method as per AISC regulations with the finite element method used for frame analysis. Structural analysis, design, and optimization were performed using a program written with MATLAB programming language. The results show that using the proposed method (IGA) for frame optimization reduces the volume of computations and increases the rate of convergence, thus allowing access to frame designs with near-optimal weights in only a few iterations. Using the IGA also limits the search space to the area of acceptable solutions.