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A robust data mining approach for formulation of geotechnical engineering systems

Amir Hossein Alavi (College of Civil Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Amir Hossein Gandomi (College of Civil Engineering, Tafresh University, Tafresh, Iran)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 5 April 2011




The complexity of analysis of geotechnical behavior is due to multivariable dependencies of soil and rock responses. In order to cope with this complex behavior, traditional forms of engineering design solutions are reasonably simplified. Incorporating simplifying assumptions into the development of the traditional models may lead to very large errors. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate capabilities of promising variants of genetic programming (GP), namely linear genetic programming (LGP), gene expression programming (GEP), and multi‐expression programming (MEP) by applying them to the formulation of several complex geotechnical engineering problems.


LGP, GEP, and MEP are new variants of GP that make a clear distinction between the genotype and the phenotype of an individual. Compared with the traditional GP, the LGP, GEP, and MEP techniques are more compatible with computer architectures. This results in a significant speedup in their execution. These methods have a great ability to directly capture the knowledge contained in the experimental data without making assumptions about the underlying rules governing the system. This is one of their major advantages over most of the traditional constitutive modeling methods.


In order to demonstrate the simulation capabilities of LGP, GEP, and MEP, they were applied to the prediction of: relative crest settlement of concrete‐faced rockfill dams; slope stability; settlement around tunnels; and soil liquefaction. The results are compared with those obtained by other models presented in the literature and found to be more accurate. LGP has the best overall behavior for the analysis of the considered problems in comparison with GEP and MEP. The simple and straightforward constitutive models developed using LGP, GEP and MEP provide valuable analysis tools accessible to practicing engineers.


The LGP, GEP, and MEP approaches overcome the shortcomings of different methods previously presented in the literature for the analysis of geotechnical engineering systems. Contrary to artificial neural networks and many other soft computing tools, LGP, GEP, and MEP provide prediction equations that can readily be used for routine design practice. The constitutive models derived using these methods can efficiently be incorporated into the finite element or finite difference analyses as material models. They may also be used as a quick check on solutions developed by more time consuming and in‐depth deterministic analyses.



Hossein Alavi, A. and Hossein Gandomi, A. (2011), "A robust data mining approach for formulation of geotechnical engineering systems", Engineering Computations, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 242-274.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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