Single-loop system reliability-based topology optimization considering statistical dependence between limit-states

Tam H. Nguyen, Junho Song, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This paper presents a single-loop algorithm for system reliability-based topology optimization (SRBTO) that can account for statistical dependence between multiple limit-states, and its applications to computationally demanding topology optimization (TO) problems. A single-loop reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) algorithm replaces the inner-loop iterations to evaluate probabilistic constraints by a non-iterative approximation. The proposed single-loop SRBTO algorithm accounts for the statistical dependence between the limit-states by using the matrixbased system reliability (MSR) method to compute the system failure probability and its parameter sensitivities. The SRBTO/MSR approach is applicable to general system events including series, parallel, cut-set and link-set systems and provides the gradients of the system failure probability to facilitate gradient-based optimization. In most RBTO applications, probabilistic constraints are evaluated by use of the first-order reliability method for efficiency. In order to improve the accuracy of the reliability calculations for RBDO or RBTO problems with high nonlinearity, we introduce a new single-loop RBDO scheme utilizing the second-order reliability method and implement it to the proposed SRBTO algorithm. Moreover, in order to overcome challenges in applying the proposed algorithm to computationally demanding topology optimization problems, we utilize the multiresolution topology optimization (MTOP) method, which achieves computational efficiency in topology optimization by assigning different levels of resolutions to three meshes representing finite element analysis, design variables and material density distribution respectively. The paper provides numerical examples of twoand three-dimensional topology optimization problems to demonstrate the proposed SRBTO algorithm and its applications. The optimal topologies from deterministic, component and system RBTOs are compared with one another to investigate the impact of optimization schemes on final topologies. Monte Carlo simulations are also performed to verify the accuracy of the failure probabilities computed by the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-611
Number of pages19
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Control and Optimization


  • First-order reliability method
  • Multiresolution topology optimization
  • Reliability-based design optimization
  • Second-order reliability method
  • Single-loop approach
  • System reliability


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