In engineering design, engineers often have certain knowledge about the design problem. However, in the last decades, we assume design functions are black-boxes. This paper discusses if knowledge can help with optimization, especially for large-scale optimization problems. Existing large-scale optimization methods based on black-box functions are first reviewed and the drawbacks of those methods are briefly discussed. To understand what knowledge is and what kinds of knowledge can be obtained and applied in design, the concepts of knowledge in both artificial intelligence (AI) and in the area of product design are reviewed. The relevant knowledge based engineering (KBE) system is also explained. Existing applications of knowledge in optimization, especially for large-scale optimization, are reviewed and categorized. Potential further applications of incorporating knowledge for optimization are discussed in more detail, in hope to identify possible directions for future research for knowledge assisted optimization.

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