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Journal Article

Flexible Design and Operation of a Smart Charging Microgrid

The reliability theory of repairable systems is vastly different from that of non-repairable systems. The authors have recently proposed a ‘decision-based’ framework to design and maintain repairable systems for optimal performance and reliability using a set of metrics such as minimum failure free period, number of failures in planning horizon (lifecycle), and cost. The optimal solution includes the initial design, the system maintenance throughout the planning horizon, and the protocol to operate the system. In this work, we extend this idea by incorporating flexibility and demonstrate our approach using a smart charging electric microgrid architecture. The flexibility is realized by allowing the architecture to change with time. Our approach “learns” the working characteristics of the microgrid. We use actual load and supply data over a short time to quantify the load and supply random processes and also establish the correlation between them.
Journal Article

Enhancing Decision Topology Assessment in Engineering Design

Implications of decision analysis (DA) on engineering design are important and well-documented. However, widespread adoption has not occurred. To that end, the authors recently proposed decision topologies (DT) as a visual method for representing decision situations and proved that they are entirely consistent with normative decision analysis. This paper addresses the practical issue of assessing the DTs of a designer using their responses. As in classical DA, this step is critical to encoding the DA's preferences so that further analysis and mathematical optimization can be performed on the correct set of preferences. We show how multi-attribute DTs can be directly assessed from DM responses. Furthermore, we show that preferences under uncertainty can be trivially incorporated and that topologies can be constructed using single attribute topologies similarly to multi-linear functions in utility analysis. This incremental construction simplifies the process of topology construction.
Technical Paper

A Cost-Driven Method for Design Optimization Using Validated Local Domains

Design optimization often relies on computational models, which are subjected to a validation process to ensure their accuracy. Because validation of computer models in the entire design space can be costly, we have previously proposed an approach where design optimization and model validation, are concurrently performed using a sequential approach with variable-size local domains. We used test data and statistical bootstrap methods to size each local domain where the prediction model is considered validated and where design optimization is performed. The method proceeds iteratively until the optimum design is obtained. This method however, requires test data to be available in each local domain along the optimization path. In this paper, we refine our methodology by using polynomial regression to predict the size and shape of a local domain at some steps along the optimization process without using test data.
Journal Article

A Simulation and Optimization Methodology for Reliability of Vehicle Fleets

Understanding reliability is critical in design, maintenance and durability analysis of engineering systems. A reliability simulation methodology is presented in this paper for vehicle fleets using limited data. The method can be used to estimate the reliability of non-repairable as well as repairable systems. It can optimally allocate, based on a target system reliability, individual component reliabilities using a multi-objective optimization algorithm. The algorithm establishes a Pareto front that can be used for optimal tradeoff between reliability and the associated cost. The method uses Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the system failure rate and reliability as a function of time. The probability density functions (PDF) of the time between failures for all components of the system are estimated using either limited data or a user-supplied MTBF (mean time between failures) and its coefficient of variation.