Using discrete optimization algorithms to find minimum energy configurations of slender cantilever beams with non-convex energy functions Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper deals with a new solution technique for approximately solving certain variational problems in elasticity by using discrete optimization techniques that were originally used in information theory. This allows us to easily and approximately solve large deformation buckling problems for slender cantilever beams (including post-buckling behavior) as well as problems where the strain energy function is non-convex. The core idea is to quantize or discretize the variables describing the possible configurations of the body. This, when combined with the fact that the variational problem has an inherent Markov structure allows us to use computationally efficient search techniques based on dynamic programming (equivalent to finding the shortest path in a weighted directed graph) to find optimal solutions within the quantized state space. The results can be used in two ways: (1) directly as a fast approximate solution to the variational problem (2) As a means for finding very good (nearly minimum energy) initial configurations for application of conventional minimization techniques, which might otherwise fail because of a poor starting configurations which are far from the global minimum. We demonstrate both these uses in the paper. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Narayanan, K. R., & Srinivasa, A. R.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Narayanan, Krishna R||Srinivasa, Arun R

publication date

  • October 2009