A diagnostic assessment of evolutionary algorithms for multi-objective surface water reservoir control

J. Zatarain Salazar, P. M. Reed, J. D. Herman, M. Giuliani, and A. Castelletti

Advances in Water Resources (June 2016)

DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2016.04.006

Abstract Globally, the pressures of expanding populations, climate change, and increased energy demands are motivating significant investments in re-operationalizing existing reservoirs or designing operating policies for new ones. These challenges require an understanding of the tradeoffs that emerge across the complex suite of multi-sector demands in river basin systems. This study benchmarks our current capabilities to use Evolutionary Multi-Objective Direct Policy Search (EMODPS), a decision analytic framework in which reservoirs’ candidate operating policies are represented using parameterized global approximators (e.g., radial basis functions) then those parameterized functions are optimized using multi-objective evolutionary algorithms to discover the Pareto approximate operating policies. We contribute a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of modern MOEAs’ abilities to support EMODPS using the Conowingo reservoir in the Lower Susquehanna River Basin, Pennsylvania, USA. Our diagnostic results highlight that EMODPS can be very challenging for some modern MOEAs and that epsilon dominance, time-continuation, and auto-adaptive search are helpful for attaining high levels of performance. The ϵ-MOEA, the auto-adaptive Borg MOEA, and ϵ-NSGAII all yielded superior results for the six-objective Lower Susquehanna benchmarking test case. The top algorithms show low sensitivity to different MOEA parameterization choices and high algorithmic reliability in attaining consistent results for different random MOEA trials. Overall, EMODPS poses a promising method for discovering key reservoir management tradeoffs; however algorithmic choice remains a key concern for problems of increasing complexity.

keywords: Multi-purpose reservoir control; Direct policy search; Multi-objective evolutionary algorithm; Benchmark

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