Deep reinforcement learning methods for structure-guided processing path optimization
A major goal of materials design is to find material structures with desired properties and in a second step to find a processing path to reach one of these structures. In this paper, we propose and investigate a deep reinforcement learning approach for the optimization of processing paths. The goal is to find optimal processing paths in the material structure space that lead to target-structures, which have been identified beforehand to result in desired material properties. There exists a target set containing one or multiple different structures, bearing the desired properties. Our proposed methods can find an optimal path from a start structure to a single target structure, or optimize the processing paths to one of the equivalent target-structures in the set. In the latter case, the algorithm learns during processing to simultaneously identify the best reachable target structure and the optimal path to it. The proposed methods belong to the family of model-free deep reinforcement learning algorithms. They are guided by structure representations as features of the process state and by a reward signal, which is formulated based on a distance function in the structure space. Model-free reinforcement learning algorithms learn through trial and error while interacting with the process. Thereby, they are not restricted to information from a priori sampled processing data and are able to adapt to the specific process. The optimization itself is model-free and does not require any prior knowledge about the process itself. We instantiate and evaluate the proposed methods by optimizing paths of a generic metal forming process. We show the ability of both methods to find processing paths leading close to target structures and the ability of the extended method to identify target-structures that can be reached effectively and efficiently and to focus on these targets for sample efficient processing path optimization.