Journal of Global Optimization

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 47–62 | Cite as

An Inverse Reliability-based Approach for Designing under Uncertainty with Application to Robust Piston Design

  • Hanif D. Sherali
  • Vikram Ganesan
Original Paper


In this work, we propose an optimization framework for designing under uncertainty that considers both robustness and reliability issues. This approach is generic enough to be applicable to engineering design problems involving nonconvex objective and constraint functions defined in terms of random variables that follow any distribution. The problem formulation employs an Inverse Reliability Strategy that uses percentile performance to address both robustness objectives and reliability constraints. Robustness is achieved through a design objective that evaluates performance variation as a percentile difference between the right and left trails of the specified goals. Reliability requirements are formulated as Inverse Reliability constraints that are based on equivalent percentile performance levels. The general proposed approach first approximates the formulated problem via a Gaussian Kriging model. This is then used to evaluate the percentile performance characteristics of the different measures inherent in the problem formulation for various design variable settings via a Most Probable Point of Inverse Reliability search algorithm. By using these percentile evaluations in concert with the response surface methodology, a polynomial programming approximation is generated. The resulting problem formulation is finally solved to global optimality using the Reformulation–Linearization Technique (RLT) approach. We demonstrate this overall proposed approach by applying it to solve the problem of reducing piston slap, an undesirable engine noise due to the secondary motion of a piston within a cylinder.


Global optimization Designing under uncertainty Inverse Reliability Reformulation–Linearization Technique Robust piston design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grado Department of Industrial and Systems EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Global Powertrain Engineering and IT Solutions DepartmentFord Motor CompanyDearbornUSA

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