The genetic algorithm, a search and optimization technique based on the theory of natural selection, is applied to problems of structural topology design. An overview of the genetic algorithm will first describe the genetics-based representations and operators used in a typical genetic algorithm search. Then, a review of previous research in structural optimization is provided. A discretized design representation, and methods for mapping genetic algorithm “chromosomes” into this representation, is then detailed. Several examples of genetic algorithm-based structural topology optimization are provided: we address the optimization of cantilevered plate topologies, and we investigate methods for optimizing finely-discretized design domains. The genetic algorithm’s ability to find families of highly-fit designs is also examined. Finally, a description of potential future work in genetic algorithm-based structural topology optimization is offered.

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