A data-driven sensor placement strategy for reconstruction of mode shapes by using recurrent Gaussian process regression

Bei Yang Zhang, Yi Qing Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Current Optimal Sensor Placement (OSP) strategies for bridges mostly rely on data from a finite element model rather than from the real structure due to high cost in placing massive sensors for data collection. For large-scale bridges, however, it is difficult to formulate a precise model and thus the OSP strategies building upon a finite element model inevitably suffer from modelling errors. Besides, the finite element model cannot account for real measurement noise. Premised on the fact that it is not expensive to make in-situ trial measurements with a few sensors on a target bridge before deploying a structural health monitoring (SHM) system on it, a data-driven OSP strategy is proposed in this study which aims at accurately reconstructing mode shapes (to facilitate vibration-based structural damage detection) by using only a few vibration sensors to be included in the SHM system. The proposed OSP strategy is also applicable for the upgrade of a long-term SHM system currently deployed on a bridge, by using historical data collected from the current SHM system. To precisely reconstruct mode shapes, a two-stage OSP strategy in terms of Recurrent Gaussian Process Regression (RGPR) is developed, and its performance is validated on a simulation model and a real bridge. In the first stage, the greedy algorithm is leveraged to temporarily deploy sensors on the structure and train accurate RGPR models using the collected data, which are used to afford spatially complete mode shape data for optimization later. Starting from a few sensors temporarily deployed on the bridge, a one-by-one sensor adding procedure is performed to configure increasing sensors until the target is achieved. In the second stage, Cuckoo Search (CS) algorithm is pursued to obtain the globally optimal sensor placement solution, from which the temporarily deployed sensors can be re-configured to the optimum positions. Both the best sensor quantity and positions are obtained by the proposed OSP strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115998
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Bridge structure
  • Cuckoo search algorithm
  • Data-driven optimal sensor placement
  • Greedy algorithm
  • Mode shape reconstruction
  • Recurrent Gaussian process regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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