Research on design optimization has developed and demonstrated a variety of modeling techniques and solution methods, including techniques for multidisciplinary design optimization, and these approaches are beginning to migrate into product development practice. Software tools are appearing to assist with the optimization task. However, the complexity of the optimization problems being considered continues to increase because changing business strategies stress the importance of concurrent engineering and considering multiple disciplines simultaneously. This paper presents a novel classification framework for design optimization problems. The framework sorts design optimization problems based on the type of variables being considered and the objective functions being optimized. It does not focus on the algorithms used to solve the problems. This classification framework provides a new perspective that can help design engineers use optimization in the most appropriate way.

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