The optimizer used in GENOPT is called "ADS". It is a gradient-based optimizer written many years ago by Garrett Vanderplaats and his colleagues for NASA.
Vanderplaats, G. N., "ADS--a FORTRAN program for automated design synthesis, Version 2.01", Engineering Design Optimization, Inc, Santa Barbara, CA, January, 1987
Vanderplaats, G. N. and Sugimoto, H., "A general-purpose optimization program for engineering design", Computers and Structures, Vol. 24, pp 13-21, 1986
In the GENOPT mainprocessor (MAIN) the analysis is performed for the current design and for NDV perturbed designs, where NDV is the number of decision variables.
Gradients of design constraints (buckling, stress, vibration, clearance, etc.) are obtained by finite differences.
This information is then automatically provided as input for the ADS optimizer.
A GENOPT processor called SUPEROPT exists for attempting to find a "global" optimum design with the use of ADS.
There now exists (as of 2011)an additional GENOPT processor called "SUPERDUPEROPT", which executes "SUPEROPT" in a loop.
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