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Artificial Intelligence in Civil Engineering
The research of artificial intelligence has been developed since 1956, when the term “Artificial Intelligence, AI” was used at the meeting hold in Dartmouth College. Artificial intelligence, a comprehensive discipline, was developed based on the interaction of several kinds of disciplines, such as computer science, cybernetics, information theory, psychology, linguistics, and neurophysiology. Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science, involved in the research, design and application of intelligent computer .
The goal of this field is to explore how to imitate and execute some of the intelligent function of human brain, so that people can develop technology products and establish relevant theories. The first step: artificial intelligence’s rise and fall in the 1950s. The second step: as the expert system emerging, a new upsurge of the research of artificial intelligence appeared from the end of 1960s to the 1970s. The third step: in the 1980s, artificial intelligence made a great progress with the development of the fifth generation computer. The fourth step: in the 1990s, there is a new upsurge of the research of artificial intelligence: with the development of network technology, especially the international internet technology, artificial intelligence research by a single intelligent agent began to turn to the study of distributed artificial intelligence based on network environment. People study not only the same goal-based distributed problem solving, but also the multiply intelligent agents problem solving, which made the artificial intelligence more practical. Additionally, a thriving scene of artificial neural network research and application emerged and it had been deep into all areas of life as the Hopfield multilayer neural network model put forward. The main theories and methods of artificial intelligence are summarized as symbolism, behaviorism, and connectionism approach. Since the appearance of artificial intelligence AI in the 1950s, a lot of hopes and dreams about it have been generated. Now we will elaborate the latest progress of artificial intelligence technology in all aspects of civil engineering and their relationship as follows.
2. Intelligent Optimization Methods in Civil Engineering
Artificial intelligence is a science on the research and application of the law of the activities of human intelligence. It has been a far-reaching cross-frontier subject, after the 50 years’ advancement. Nowadays, this technology is applied in many fields such as expert system, knowledge base system, intelligent database system, and intelligent robot system. Expert system is the earliest and most extensive, the most active and most fruitful area, which was named as “the knowledge management and decision-making technology of the 21 century.” In the field of civil engineering, many problems, especially in engineering design, construction management, and program decision-making, were influenced by many uncertainties which could be solved not only in need of mathematics, physics, and mechanics calculations but also depend on the experience of practitioners. This knowledge and experience are illogically incomplete and imprecise, and they cannot be handled by traditional procedures. However, artificial intelligence has its own superiority. It can solve complex problems to the levels of experts by means of imitate experts. All in all, artificial intelligence has a broad application prospects in the practice of civil engineering.
- 2.1. Evolutionary Computation
Evolutionary computation (EC) is a subfield of artificial intelligence, which uses iterative process (often inspired by biological mechanisms of evolution) to evolve a population of solution to a desired end. EC has been applied to the domain of civil engineering for several decades, mainly served as an effective method for solving complex optimization problems.
- 2.1.1. Genetic Algorithms
Genetic algorithms (GAs) are one of the famous evolutionary algorithms which simulate the Darwinian principle of evolution and the survival of the fittest in optimization. It has extensive application value in the civil engineering field, but in many aspects it needs to be further studied and improved.