Application of Direct and Surrogate-Based Optimization to Two-Dimensional Benchmark Aerodynamic Problems: A Comparative Study


This paper presents the results of applying direct and surrogate-based optimization (SBO) algorithms to two-dimensional aerodynamic benchmark problems, both involving transonic flow, one invisvid and the other viscous. The direct optimization methods used in this study are the adjoint-based FUN3D and Stanford University Unstructured solvers. The SBO algorithms include the SurroOpt framework, which exploits approximation-based models, the multi-level optimization (MLO) algorithm, which relies on physics-based models, as well as the adjoint-enhanced MLO algorithm. The results demonstrate that direct optimization and the approximation-based methods are able to yield designs that are comparable to those obtained with high-dimensional shape parameterization methods. Physics-based SBO shows a rapid design improvement at a low computational cost compared to the direct and the approximation-based SBO techniques, which indicates that-for certain problems-derivative-free methods may be competitive to adjoint-based algorithms when embedded in surrogate-assisted frameworks. On the other hand, global search approaches, while more expensive, exhibit the potential to produce the best quality results.

Meeting Name

53rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting (2015: Jan. 5-9, Kissimmee, FL)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Aerodynamics; Aerospace Engineering; Algorithms; Approximation Algorithms; Benchmarking; Comparative Studies; Computational Costs; Derivative-Free Methods; Global Search Approach; Multilevel Optimization; Physics-Based Models; Shape Parameterization; Surrogate-Based Optimization; Optimization

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2015 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2015