The book's objective is two-fold: (1) It examines the mathematical governing principles of simulation-based optimization, thereby providing the reader with the ability to model relevant real-life problems using these techniques. (2) It outlines the computational technology underlying these methods. Taken together these two aspects demonstrate that the mathematical and computational methods discussed in this book do work.
Broadly speaking, the book has two parts: (1) parametric (static) optimization and (2) control (dynamic) optimization. Some of the book's special features are:
*An accessible introduction to reinforcement learning and parametric-optimization techniques.
*A step-by-step description of several algorithms of simulation-based optimization.
*A clear and simple introduction to the methodology of neural networks.
*A gentle introduction to convergence analysis of some of the methods enumerated above.
*Computer programs for many algorithms of simulation-based optimization.
Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.
Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.
While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner.
In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.
Key features of this revised and improved Second Edition include:
· Extensive coverage, via step-by-step recipes, of powerful new algorithms for static simulation optimization, including simultaneous perturbation, backtracking adaptive search and nested partitions, in addition to traditional methods, such as response surfaces, Nelder-Mead search and meta-heuristics (simulated annealing, tabu search, and genetic algorithms)
· Detailed coverage of the Bellman equation framework for Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), along with dynamic programming (value and policy iteration) for discounted, average, and total reward performance metrics
· An in-depth consideration of dynamic simulation optimization via temporal differences and Reinforcement Learning: Q-Learning, SARSA, and R-SMART algorithms, and policy search, via API, Q-P-Learning, actor-critics, and learning automata
· A special examination of neural-network-based function approximation for Reinforcement Learning, semi-Markov decision processes (SMDPs), finite-horizon problems, two time scales, case studies for industrial tasks, computer codes (placed online) and convergence proofs, via Banach fixed point theory and Ordinary Differential Equations
Themed around three areas in separate sets of chapters – Static Simulation Optimization, Reinforcement Learning and Convergence Analysis – this book is written for researchers and students in the fields of engineering (industrial, systems, electrical and computer), operations research, computer science and applied mathematics.