Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Juang, C. Hsein

Committee Member

Andrus , Ronald

Committee Member

Huang , Yongxi


This dissertation is aimed at developing a novel robust geotechnical design methodology and demonstrating this methodology for the design of geotechnical systems. The goal of a robust design is to make the response of a system insensitive to, or robust against, the variation of uncertain geotechnical parameters (termed noise factors in the context of robust design) by carefully adjusting design parameters (those that can be controlled by the designer such as geometry of the design). Through an extensive investigation, a robust geotechnical design methodology that considers explicitly safety, robustness, and cost is developed. Various robustness measures are considered in this study, and the developed methodology is implemented with a multi-objective optimization scheme, in which safety is considered as a constraint and cost and robustness are treated as the objectives. Because the cost and the robustness are conflicting objectives, the robust design optimization does not yield a single best solution. Rather, a Pareto front is obtained, which is a collection of non-dominated optimal designs. The Pareto front reveals a trade-off relationship between cost and robustness, which enables the engineer to make an informed design decision according to a target level of cost or robustness. The significance and versatility of the new design methodology are illustrated with multiple geotechnical applications, including the design of drilled shafts, shallow foundations, and braced excavations.



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