System-reliability-based design and topology optimization of structures under constraints on first-passage probability

Junho Chun, Junho Song, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


For the purpose of reliability assessment of a structure subject to stochastic excitations, the probability of the occurrence of at least one failure event over a time interval, i.e. the first-passage probability, often needs to be evaluated. In this paper, a new method is proposed to incorporate constraints on the first-passage probability into reliability-based optimization of structural design or topology. For efficient evaluations of first-passage probability during the optimization, the failure event is described as a series system event consisting of instantaneous failure events defined at discrete time points. The probability of the series system event is then computed by use of a system reliability analysis method termed as the sequential compounding method. The adjoint sensitivity formulation is derived for calculating the parameter sensitivity of the first-passage probability to facilitate the use of efficient gradient-based optimization algorithms. The proposed method is successfully demonstrated by numerical examples of a space truss and building structures subjected to stochastic earthquake ground motions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalStructural Safety
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • First-passage probability
  • Parameter sensitivity
  • Reliability-based design optimization
  • Reliability-based topology optimization
  • Sequential compounding method
  • Stochastic excitation
  • System reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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