MISO

MISO: mixed-integer surrogate optimization framework. We introduce MISO, the mixed-integer surrogate optimization framework. MISO aims at solving computationally expensive black-box optimization problems with mixed-integer variables. This type of optimization problem is encountered in many applications for which time consuming simulation codes must be run in order to obtain an objective function value. Examples include optimal reliability design and structural optimization. A single objective function evaluation may take from several minutes to hours or even days. Thus, only very few objective function evaluations are allowable during the optimization. The development of algorithms for this type of optimization problems has, however, rarely been addressed in the literature. Because the objective function is black-box, derivatives are not available and numerically approximating the derivatives requires a prohibitively large number of function evaluations. Therefore, we use computationally cheap surrogate models to approximate the expensive objective function and to decide at which points in the variable domain the expensive objective function should be evaluated. We develop a general surrogate model framework and show how sampling strategies of well-known surrogate model algorithms for continuous optimization can be modified for mixed-integer variables. We introduce two new algorithms that combine different sampling strategies and local search to obtain high-accuracy solutions. We compare MISO in numerical experiments to a genetic algorithm, NOMAD version 3.6.2, and SO-MI. The results show that MISO is in general more efficient than NOMAD and the genetic algorithm with respect to finding improved solutions within a limited budget of allowable evaluations. The performance of MISO depends on the chosen sampling strategy. The MISO algorithm that combines a coordinate perturbation search with a target value strategy and a local search performs best among all algorithms.