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Optimization of truss bridges within a specified design domain using evolution strategies

This article reports and investigates the application of evolution strategies (ESs) to optimize the design of truss bridges. This is a challenging optimization problem associated with mixed design variables, since it involves identification of the bridge's shape and topology configurations in addition to the sizing of the structural members for minimum weight. A solution algorithm to this problem is developed by combining different variable-wise versions of adaptive ESs under a common optimization routine. In this regard, size and shape optimizations are implemented using discrete and continuous ESs, respectively, while topology optimization is achieved through a discrete version coupled with a particular methodology for generating topological variations. In the study, a design domain approach is employed in conjunction with ESs to seek the optimal shape and topology configuration of a bridge in a large and flexible design space. It is shown that the resulting algorithm performs very well and produces improved results for the problems of interest.