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Optimization Approaches for a Complex Dairy Farm Simulation Model

Authors: Jagannath Aryal, Don Kulasiri, Dishi Liu


This paper describes the optimization of a complex dairy farm simulation model using two quite different methods of optimization, the Genetic algorithm (GA) and the Lipschitz Branch-and-Bound (LBB) algorithm. These techniques have been used to improve an agricultural system model developed by Dexcel Limited, New Zealand, which describes a detailed representation of pastoral dairying scenarios and contains an 8-dimensional parameter space. The model incorporates the sub-models of pasture growth and animal metabolism, which are themselves complex in many cases. Each evaluation of the objective function, a composite 'Farm Performance Index (FPI)', requires simulation of at least a one-year period of farm operation with a daily time-step, and is therefore computationally expensive. The problem of visualization of the objective function (response surface) in high-dimensional spaces is also considered in the context of the farm optimization problem. Adaptations of the sammon mapping and parallel coordinates visualization are described which help visualize some important properties of the model-s output topography. From this study, it is found that GA requires fewer function evaluations in optimization than the LBB algorithm.

Keywords: Genetic Algorithm, Linux Cluster, LipschitzBranch-and-Bound, Optimization

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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