Published in Structural Control Health Monitoring, Vol. 24 (11), Article Number: e2012, 2017
The advances in information and communication technologies led to a general trend towards the availability of more detailed information on dam behaviour. This allows applying advanced data‐based algorithms in its analysis, which has been reflected in an increasing interest in the field. However, most of the related literature is limited to the evaluation of model prediction accuracy, whereas the ulterior objective of data analysis is dam safety assessment. In this work, a machine‐learning algorithm (boosted regression trees) is the core of a methodology for early detection of anomalies. It also includes a criterion to determine whether certain discrepancy between predictions and observations is normal, a procedure to compute a realistic estimate of the model accuracy, and an original approach to identify extraordinary load combinations. The performance of causal and noncausal models is assessed in terms of their ability to detect different types of anomalies, which were artificially introduced on reference time series generated with a numerical model of a 100‐m‐high arch dam. The final approach was implemented in an online application to visualise the results in an intuitive way to support decision making.