A Survey on Model-Based, Heuristic, and Machine Learning Optimization Approaches in RIS-Aided Wireless Networks

Hao Zhou, Melike Erol-Kantarci, Yuanwei Liu, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) have received considerable attention as a key enabler for envisioned 6G networks, for the purpose of improving the network capacity, coverage, efficiency, and security with low energy consumption and low hardware cost. However, integrating RISs into the existing infrastructure greatly increases the network management complexity, especially for controlling a significant number of RIS elements. To realize the full potential of RISs, efficient optimization approaches are of great importance. This work provides a comprehensive survey of optimization techniques for RIS-aided wireless communications, including model-based, heuristic, and machine learning (ML) algorithms. In particular, we first summarize the problem formulations in the literature with diverse objectives and constraints, e.g., sumrate maximization, power minimization, and imperfect channel state information constraints. Then, we introduce model-based algorithms that have been used in the literature, such as alternating optimization, the majorization-minimization method, and successive convex approximation. Next, heuristic optimization is discussed, which applies heuristic rules for obtaining lowcomplexity solutions. Moreover, we present state-of-the-art ML algorithms and applications towards RISs, i.e., supervised and unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, federated learning, graph learning, transfer learning, and hierarchical learning-based approaches. Model-based, heuristic, and ML approaches are compared in terms of stability, robustness, optimality and so on, providing a systematic understanding of these techniques. Finally, we highlight RIS-aided applications towards 6G networks and identify future challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-823
Number of pages43
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces
  • heuristics
  • machine learning
  • model-based methods
  • optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'A Survey on Model-Based, Heuristic, and Machine Learning Optimization Approaches in RIS-Aided Wireless Networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this