A comprehensive review of educational articles on structural and multidisciplinary optimization

Chao Wang, Zhi Zhao, Ming Zhou, Ole Sigmund, Xiaojia Shelly Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ever since the publication of the 99-line topology optimization MATLAB code (top99) by Sigmund in 2001, educational articles have emerged as a popular category of contributions within the structural and multidisciplinary optimization (SMO) community. The number of educational papers in the field of SMO has been growing rapidly in recent years. Some educational contributions have made a tremendous impact on both research and education. For example, top99 (Sigmund in Struct Multidisc Optim 21(2):120–127, 2001) has been downloaded over 13,000 times and cited over 2000 times in Google Scholar. In this paper, we attempt to provide a systematic and comprehensive review of educational articles and codes in SMO, including topology, sizing, and shape optimization and building blocks. We first assess the papers according to the adopted methods, which include density-based, level-set, ground structure, and more. We then provide comparisons and evaluations on the codes from several key aspects, including techniques, efficiency, usability, readability, environment, and compatibility. In addition, we conduct numerical experiments on the reviewed codes using the benchmark cantilever beam example to provide feedback on the overall user experience. With a systematic review and comparison, this paper aims to offer insights on the educational values and practicality for employing these codes. We try to provide not only guidance for beginners to approach various optimization methods, but also a dictionary to direct readers to effectively target the relevant codes and building blocks based on their demands. Finally, based on the findings in this review paper, we provide some perspectives and recommendations for future educational contributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2827-2880
Number of pages54
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Building blocks
  • Educational codes
  • Educational contributions
  • Shape optimization
  • Sizing optimization
  • Topology optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Optimization
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'A comprehensive review of educational articles on structural and multidisciplinary optimization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this