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Focus on: Optimisation

Focus on Optimisation

Focus on: Optimisation

Optimisation (or optimiZation, depending on where you're from..) is everywhere. If you're involved in a design, you're involved in the optimisation process. And if you think you're not, then you're probably mistaken...

NAFEMS has long had a significant focus on optimisation in engineering analysis and simulation, producing books, papers, events and training courses on the subject. We've collated a small selection of this content for you below, to help you on your journey towards improving your skills and knowledge, and hopefully inspire you to learn more about the topic.

Many of the resources below are available as part of NAFEMS Membership, with an e-library subscription, and to buy direct from our website.

We hope you find this brief update useful. If you have any comments, or thoughts on future areas that you'd like to see us focus on in the future, please get in touch at


The Road to Successful Optimisation

The July 2017 issue of Benchmark is dedicated to optimisation, covering topics as diverse as Topology and Shape Optimization, Interactive Multiobjective Optimization, High-Value Manufacturing, Robust Design Optimization of Opto-Thermo-Mechanical Systems, and much more.

NAFEMS Members will be receiving their printed copy shortly, and can also download the PDF from our website. Subscribers will receive their magazine directly.

Buy this issue


Optimisation Special Interest Group

The NAFEMS Optimisation Working Group has formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) in order to help disseminate best practice and encourage the adoption of optimisation methods and technology.

To participate in the Optimisation SIG you do not have to be an expert in this technical area. The Optimisation SIG is for NAFEMS members who are interested in expanding their capabilities in the optimisation technical area.

Next meeting:

The Impact of Uncertainty Quantification in Optimization: Towards Robust Design Optimization
Professor Charles Hirsch & Dr Dirk Wunsch, NUMECA International

The presentation "The impact of Uncertainty Quantification in Optimization: Towards Robust Design Optimization" describes the role of Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) and Robust Design Optimization (RDO) in engineering practice. The challenges in building an industry-ready tool chain for UQ and RDO will be described and it will be shown how the problem was addressed by the authors. The presentation includes applications of simultaneous operational and geometrical, as well as manufacturing, uncertainties in turbo-machinery design. Robust design optimizations are compared with deterministic design optimizations on several industrial examples, from turbo-machinery to marine applications, highlighting the importance of robust formulation of the optimization problem. In particular, it will be shown that the designs resulting from deterministic and robust design optimization can vary significantly and that robust design optimization leads indeed to more robust designs in terms of performance variability.

See all the Optimization Working Group Meetings


Structural Optimization in FEA

E-learning Course

The objective of this well-established e-learning course, tutored by Tony Abbey, is to show you a broad overview of the range of Finite Element Analysis-based tools available and what the methods and specializations of each encompass. Plentiful hints and tips will demonstrate powerful ways to use these methods. The goal is to achieve meaningful structural optimization in support of the most effective products.

Register here


Free Webinar Recording

Turbomachinery Active Subspace Performance Maps
Dr Pranay Seshadri, University of Cambridge

This presentation was made by Dr Pranay Seshadri at the 1st Technical Meeting of the NAFEMS Optimisation Special Interest Group on April 24th 2017.

Download the presentation



Several hundred presentations on optimisation have been delivered at NAFEMS events over the years, and a selection of these are available to NAFEMS members to download for free. We have highlighted a few of these below:


No Free Lunch Theorem from an Engineering Perspective

Presentation made by C. Poloni at the NAFEMS European Conference "Simulation-Based Optimisation" that was held in Manchester on the 12th and 13th of October 2016..

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Structural Sizing Optimization At Airbus Leans On Different Approaches Depending On The Need

Presentation made by S. Grihon at the NAFEMS France Regional Conference held in Paris, France on the 8th and 9th of June 2016.

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Towards an optimization driven concept development process in an automotive context

Presentation made by A. Govik at the NAFEMS Nordic Conference 'Engineering Simulation: Best Practices, New Developments, Future Trends' that was held in Gothenburg, Sweden on 10-11 May 2016.

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A number of NAFEMS publications have a focus on optimisation. The books below are available to purchase online, or can be downloaded in PDF format with an e-library subscription.

The State of Current Practice in Engineering Design Optimisation

This document provides an introductory level overview of ‘Engineering Design Optimisation’ as a technology area and is based, in large measure on an earlier paper summarising material on Product and System Optimisation delivered during the four years of the FENet Thematic Network. Here the concentration is mainly upon ‘product’ and it is understood that what is being considered are things that are technical in nature and require the use of Engineering Analysis at some stage in their design.

Buy the Book or Download from the e-library

Why Do Design Optimisation?

‘Optimisation’ is about selecting the best option from a range of possible choices. It is natural to consider this when designing a new product. As the old saying goes, ‘A job worth doing is worth doing well’. Why not produce a design that is the best in its class, if you have the means to do so? It may not cost any more in time and money to design and produce, and it may cost less. The customers for your product will be more pleased with it. Everyone will be happier, except your competitors.

Buy the Book or Download from the e-library




Not a Member?

NAFEMS is the international association for the engineering analysis, modelling and simulation community. It has been our mission over the last 30 years to facilitate and promote the safe and efficient use of engineering simulation and analysis. By joining our association, members have the unique opportunity to be part of our growing community.

Further info