The exercise of solving engineering problems that require optimisation procedures can be seriously affected by uncertain variables, resulting in potential underperforming solutions. Although this is a well-known problem, important knowledge gaps are still to be addressed. For example, concepts of robustness largely differ from study to study, robust solutions are generally provided with limited information about their uncertainty, and robust optimisation is difficult to apply as it is a computationally demanding task.
The proposed research aims to address the mentioned challenges and focuses on robust optimisation of multiple objectives and multiple sources of probabilistically described uncertainty. This is done by the development of the Robust Optimisation and Probabilistic Analysis of Robustness algorithm (ROPAR), which integrates widely accepted robustness metrics into a single flexible framework. In this thesis, ROPAR is not only tested in benchmark functions, but also in engineering problems related to the water sector, in particular the design of urban drainage and water distribution systems.
ROPAR allows for employing practically any existing multi-objective optimisation algorithm as its internal optimisation engine, which enables its applicability to other problems as well. Additionally, ROPAR can be straightforwardly parallelized, allowing for fast availability of results.
Introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Robust optimisation of a benchmark function, Robust optimisation of a simple storm drainage system, Robust optimisation of two larger storm drainage systems, Robust optimisation of a storm drainage system: more objectives and sources of uncertainty, Robust optimisation of water quality in distribution systems, Conclusions and recommendations.
IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.