On the use of artificial neural networks in topology optimisation

Rebekka V. Woldseth*, Niels Aage, J. Andreas Bærentzen, Ole Sigmund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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The question of how methods from the field of artificial intelligence can help improve the conventional frameworks for topology optimisation has received increasing attention over the last few years. Motivated by the capabilities of neural networks in image analysis, different model-variations aimed at obtaining iteration-free topology optimisation have been proposed with varying success. Other works focused on speed-up through replacing expensive optimisers and state solvers, or reducing the design-space have been attempted, but have not yet received the same attention. The portfolio of articles presenting different applications has as such become extensive, but few real breakthroughs have yet been celebrated. An overall trend in the literature is the strong faith in the “magic”of artificial intelligence and thus misunderstandings about the capabilities of such methods. The aim of this article is therefore to present a critical review of the current state of research in this field. To this end, an overview of the different model-applications is presented, and efforts are made to identify reasons for the overall lack of convincing success. A thorough analysis identifies and differentiates between problematic and promising aspects of existing models. The resulting findings are used to detail recommendations believed to encourage avenues of potential scientific progress for further research within the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number294
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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