Journal of Global Optimization

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 481–503 | Cite as

Scatter search for chemical and bio-process optimization

  • Jose A. Egea
  • María Rodríguez-Fernández
  • Julio R. Banga
  • Rafael Martí
Original Paper


Scatter search is a population-based method that has recently been shown to yield promising outcomes for solving combinatorial and nonlinear optimization problems. Based on formulations originally proposed in 1960s for combining decision rules and problem constraints such as the surrogate constraint method, scatter search uses strategies for combining solution vectors that have proved effective in a variety of problem settings. In this paper, we develop a general purpose heuristic for a class of nonlinear optimization problems. The procedure is based on the scatter search methodology and treats the objective function evaluation as a black box, making the search algorithm context-independent. Most optimization problems in the chemical and bio-chemical industries are highly nonlinear in either the objective function or the constraints. Moreover, they usually present differential-algebraic systems of constraints. In this type of problem, the evaluation of a solution or even the feasibility test of a set of values for the decision variables is a time-consuming operation. In this context, the solution method is limited to a reduced number of solution examinations. We have implemented a scatter search procedure in Matlab (Mathworks, 2004) for this special class of difficult optimization problems. Our development goes beyond a simple exercise of applying scatter search to this class of problems, but presents innovative mechanisms to obtain a good balance between intensification and diversification in a short-term search horizon. Computational comparisons with other recent methods over a set of benchmark problems favor the proposed procedure.


Metaheuristics Scatter search Chemical engineering Global optimization Nonlinear dynamic systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose A. Egea
    • 1
  • María Rodríguez-Fernández
    • 1
  • Julio R. Banga
    • 1
  • Rafael Martí
    • 2
  1. 1.Process Engineering GroupInstituto de Investigaciones Marinas (C.S.I.C.)VigoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Estadística e Investigación OperativaUniversitat de ValènciaBurjassot (Valencia)Spain

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