machine learning, dynamic optimization, constrained optimization, uncertainty quantification, prediction uncertainty, process uncertainty, glass formulation, low-activity waste


Gekko is an optimization suite in Python that solves optimization problems involving mixed-integer, nonlinear, and differential equations. The purpose of this study is to integrate common Machine Learning (ML) algorithms such as Gaussian Process Regression (GPR), support vector regression (SVR), and artificial neural network (ANN) models into Gekko to solve data based optimization problems. Uncertainty quantification (UQ) is used alongside ML for better decision making. These methods include ensemble methods, model-specific methods, conformal predictions, and the delta method. An optimization problem involving nuclear waste vitrification is presented to demonstrate the benefit of ML in this field. ML models are compared against the current partial quadratic mixture (PQM) model in an optimization problem in Gekko. GPR with conformal uncertainty was chosen as the best substitute model as it had a lower mean squared error of 0.0025 compared to 0.018 and more confidently predicted a higher waste loading of 37.5 wt% compared to 34 wt%. The example problem shows that these tools can be used in similar industry settings where easier use and better performance is needed over classical approaches. Future works with these tools include expanding them with other regression models and UQ methods, and exploration into other optimization problems or dynamic control.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Chemical Engineering

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Full Professor