This study compares the performance of self-adaptive optimization approaches in efficient water distribution systems (WDS) design and presents a guide for the selection of the appropriate method employing optimization utilizing the characteristic of each technique formulation. To this end, this study performs three types of analyses. First, the sensitivity analysis of each self-adaptive approach is conducted on single/multi-objective mathematical benchmark problems with various problem types (e.g., using solution shape or many local optimal solutions). Second, based on the applications and results of the mathematical problem, the performance of the algorithm is verified in the WDS design problem considering the minimum cost and the maximum system resilience under the single/multi-objective optimization framework. Third, the characteristics of search operators in the self-adaptive approach are compared according to the presence or absence of additional parameters and operators. Moreover, various performance indices are employed to compare the quantitative evaluation of each algorithm. Each algorithm is found to exhibit different characteristics depending on the problem scale and solution type. These results are expected to benefit future research in the formulation of new approaches and developments. Hence, this study provides rigorous testing of the performance of newly proposed algorithms in a highly simplified manner.
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