Optimization of support vector machine through the use of metaheuristic algorithms in forecasting TBM advance rate

Jian Zhou, Yingui Qiu, Shuangli Zhu, Danial Jahed Armaghani, Chuanqi Li, Hoang Nguyen, Saffet Yagiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The advance rate (AR) of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) in hard rock condition is a key parameter for the successful accomplishment of a tunneling project, and the proper and reliable prediction of this parameter can lead to minimizing the risks associated to high capital costs and scheduling for such projects. This research aims at optimizing the hyper-parameters of the support vector machine (SVM) technique through the use of three optimization algorithms, namely, gray wolf optimization (GWO), whale optimization algorithm (WOA) and moth flame optimization (MFO), in forecasting TBM AR. In fact, the role of these optimization techniques is to optimize the hyperparameters ‘C’ and ‘gamma’ of the SVM model to get higher performance prediction. To develop the hybrid SVM-based models, 1,286 sample sets of data collected from a water transfer tunnel in Malaysia comprising seven input variables, i.e., rock mass rating, uniaxial compressive strength, Brazilian tensile strength, rock quality designation, weathering zone, thrust force and revolution per minute, and one output variable, i.e., TBM AR, were considered and used. Several GWO-SVM, WOA-SVM and MFO-SVM models were constructed to predict TBM AR considering their effective parameters. The accuracy levels of the proposed models were assessed using four statistical indices, i.e., the coefficient of determination (R2), root mean squared error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), and variance accounted for (VAF). Modeling results revealed that the MFO algorithm can capture better hyper-parameters of the SVM model in predicting TBM AR among all three hybrid models. R2 of (0.9623 and 0.9724), RMSE of (0.1269 and 0.1155), and VAF of (96.24 and 97.34%), respectively, for training and test stages of the MFO-SVM model confirmed that this hybrid SVM model is a powerful and applicable technique addressing problems related to TBM performance with a high level of accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104015
JournalEngineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Gray wolf optimization
  • Moth flame optimization
  • Support vector machine
  • TBM performance
  • Whale optimization algorithm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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