IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation
David Guirguis, Nikola Aulig, Renato Picelli, Bo Zhu, Yuqing Zhou, William Vicente, Francesco Iorio, Markus Olhofer, Wojciech Matusik, Carlos Artemio Coello Coello and Kazuhiro Saitou
Black-box topology optimization (BBTO) uses evolutionary algorithms and other soft computing techniques to generate near-optimal topologies of mechanical structures. Although evolutionary algorithms are widely used to compensate the limited applicability of conventional gradient optimization techniques, methods based on BBTO have been criticized due to numerous drawbacks. In this article, we discuss topology optimization as a black-box optimization problem. We review the main BBTO methods, discuss their challenges and present approaches to relax them. Dealing with those challenges effectively can lead to wider applicability of topology optimization, as well as the ability to tackle industrial, highly constrained, nonlinear, many-objective, and multimodal problems. Consequently, future research in this area may open the door for innovating new applications in science and engineering that may go beyond solving classical optimization problems of mechanical structures. Furthermore, algorithms designed for BBTO can be added to existing software toolboxes and packages of topology optimization.