Abstract

Supervised machine learning techniques have proven to be effective tools for providing inverse mappings from performance objectives to input parameters. These techniques can be used in engineering design problems to help designers efficiently identify promising regions of the design space. The design space mappings can be used to inform early-stage design exploration, provide reliability assessments, and aid convergence in multiobjective or multilevel problems that require collaborative design teams. However, the accuracy of the mappings can vary based on problem factors such as the number of design variables, presence of discrete variables, multimodality of the underlying response function, and amount of training data available. Additionally, there are several useful machine learning algorithms available, and each has its own set of algorithmic hyperparameters that significantly affect accuracy and computational expense. This work elucidates the use of machine learning for engineering design problems by investigating the performance of popular classification algorithms on a variety of simple engineering problems with a range of different characteristics. The results are synthesized into a set of observations to provide engineers with intuition for applying these techniques to their own problems in the future, as well as recommendations based on problem type to aid engineers in algorithm selection and utilization.

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