Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, 3(3):123-137

Authors: Gerhard Venter and Jaroslaw Sobieszczanski-Sobieski
Publication Date: March 2006

An asynchronous parallel Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm is presented. Particle swarm optimization is a fairly recent addition to the family of non-gradient based, probabilistic search algorithms. Particle swarm optimization is based on a simplified social model and is closely tied to swarming theory. Although PSO algorithms present several attractive properties to the designer, they are plagued by high computational cost as measured by elapsed time. One approach to reduce the elapsed time is to make use of coarse-grained parallelization to evaluate the design points. Previous parallel PSO algorithms were exclusively implemented in a synchronous manner, where all design points within a design iteration are evaluated before the next iteration is started. This approach leads to poor parallel speedup in cases where a heterogeneous parallel environment is used and/or where the analysis time depends on the design point being analyzed. This paper introduces an asynchronous parallel PSO algorithm that is benchmarked on a cluster assembled of Apple Macintosh G5 desktop computers, using the multi-disciplinary optimization of a typical transport aircraft wing as an example. The asynchronous parallel PSO algorithm greatly improves the parallel efficiency for the considered example problem.