After a period of relative quiescence, optimization of the design of high performance machine tools has become the subject of considerable recent research activity. Advances in the general areas of optimization theory and signal processing have enabled effective solutions to problems regarded as intractable by earlier analysts. There is, however, a danger that valuable early research may be discounted or overlooked when there is a substantial period of dormancy in a discipline. The survey links early work with current activity in the optimization of machine tool spindle bearing systems.

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