Multi-objective optimization of geosynthetic-reinforced and pile-supported embankments

Xiangfeng Guo, Tuan A. Pham*, Daniel Dias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The design of geosynthetic-reinforced and pile-supported (GRPS) embankments is traditionally optimized by searching for the most cost-effective solution among several workable candidates. The candidates are usually based on experiences of engineers, and the real optimal design could be therefore missed. This paper intends to address the above-mentioned issue by systematically optimizing the design of GRPS embankments considering simultaneously the cost and the safety in the entire design space. It is thus a multi-objective optimization (MOO) problem that differs from the studies only focusing on minimizing the construction cost. A practical MOO procedure is proposed in this paper, and it is applied to an illustrative GRPS embankment case. A set of nondominated optimal designs (Pareto front) are obtained at first, allowing an informed design decision. Then, four candidates located on the Pareto front are highlighted. Each of them represents an attractive design: the safest, the least-cost, the best trade-off (knee point) considering the two objectives, and the cheapest one for a target safety requirement. Finally, the optimal design can be selected from these four candidates depending on specific project purposes. For the case study, the knee point design leads to improvements in both the two defined objectives (i.e., decreased cost and increased safety) compared to the initial design, showing great benefits of performing a MOO analysis. By using the procedure, the optimal designs are also efficiently determined for the cases of different embankment heights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3783-3798
Number of pages16
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Cost reduction
  • Design optimization
  • Geosynthetic reinforcement
  • Pareto front
  • Piled embankment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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