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This article will discuss the principal concepts of design optimisation, then look at the various suitable techniques and make suggestions as to where they might be used by structural engineers. These methods include quasi-Newton, gradient, simulated annealing, Monte Carlo, genetic algorithms, particle swarms, neural networks, form-finding, and evolutionary topology optimisation.

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While the article will not be exhaustive (which would take several books), it will provide sufficient examples and typical formulas so that those interested can start to explore this fascinating subject.*

Author(s): P. Debney (Arup-Oasys)