ACE OCP is an add-on for the CSI products (SAP2000 and ETABS), representing a generic real-world optimum design computing platform for civil structural systems.

Brief Description

ACE OCP is an add-on for the CSI products (SAP2000 and ETABS), representing a generic real-world optimum design computing platform for civil structural systems. In order to be applicable in the everyday practice, it is implemented within an innovative computing framework, founded on the current state of the art of optimization. It covers all materials that CSI supports such as reinforced concrete, steel, aluminium etc.


  • Advanced and easy to use interface, making structural optimization a single button click process.
  • It offers the possibility to select criteria related to the construction cost, environmental impact, etc. to be used either “Objective Functions” or “Additional Constraints”, further to those imposed by the design codes considered.

  • Solution using algorithms selected from a list of state of the art of numerical optimization algorithms.

  • Multiple options to define the design bounds of the design variables. At the section or element level.

  • Comparison of initial and optimized designs.

Structural Optimization

Structural optimization has matured from a narrow academic discipline, where researchers focused on the optimum design of small-idealized structural components and systems, to become the basis in modern design of complex structural systems.

Some software applications in recent years have made these tools accessible to professional engineers, decision-makers and students outside the structural optimization research community.

These software applications, mainly focused on aerospace, aeronautical, mechanical and naval structural systems, have incorporated the optimization component primarily as an additional feature of the finite element software package.

However, these tools fall short of meeting the needs of the professional engineer. ACE OCP has been created to fill this gap by offering a holistic optimization approach in terms of final design stage for real-world civil engineering structures such as buildings, bridges or more complex civil engineering structures.

Optimization is the act of obtaining the best result under given circumstances. In design, construction, and maintenance of any engineering system, engineers have to take many technological and managerial decisions at several stages.

The ultimate goal of all such decisions is either to minimize the effort required or to maximize the desired benefit. Among others construction and material cost reduction can be achieved.

Benefits (Why using ACE OCP?)

Engineers always strive to design efficient structural systems which must be as economic as possible yet strong enough to withstand the most demanding functional requirements arising during their service life. The traditional trial-and-error design approach is not sufficient to determine economical designs satisfying also the safety criteria. Structural design optimization, on the other hand, provides a numerical procedure that can replace the traditional design approach with an automated one. Numerical optimization algorithms have been developed in the past to meet the demands of structural design optimization. ACE OCP add-on provides a holistic optimization approach in terms of final design stage for real-world civil engineering structures such as buildings, bridges or more complex civil engineering structures.

The scientific and technical challenges of the adoption of ACE OCP add-on in the design practice are enormous, but so are the issues at stake. The main goal for the implementation of ACE OCP add-on is to help new generations of engineers to design safe and economic structures within an affordable and reliable technological framework.

Ten state-of-the-art optimization algorithms are available in this innovative CSI add-on all of which have been successfully tested in various challenging problems.

ACE OCP’s strength lies in the broad range of built-in capabilities and ease of use. For the first time an add-on ensures a bright future for optimization methods and their use into the mainstream of structural engineering practice.

Within the construction industry, there is constant pressure to deliver projects more effectively on multiple fronts. This is most notable in the desire to reduce project time scales, while also consistently increasing capability and design quality. ACE OCP will provide significant added value to the users of SAP2000 and ETABS and an instant payback.

There is no need for additional information. In order to ensure that the results obtained through the ACE OCP add-on are, directly, comparable with those implemented in practice, the same FE simulation, material properties, loading conditions and design codes are considered for the analysis and design procedures. This is implemented by using the same binary input file (SDB or EDB file) in the application of ACE OCP add-on.

Innovation (Cutting Edge Technologies)

Design optimization refers to the process of generating improved designs in terms of cost, manufacturability or performance without compromising safety. Structural optimization problems are characterized by various objective and constraint functions that are generally non-linear functions of the design variables. ACE OCP supports various objective functions.

The implementation of optimum design formulations to real-world problems requires significant computational effort which can only be addressed with a synergy of cutting edge technologies in the field. Therefore, the tools required for dealing with structural optimization problems basically must serve four purposes: (i) accurate numerical modelling of the structural system, (ii) structural analysis for calculating response quantities such as displacements and stresses under various loading conditions, (iii) design procedure for performing the constraints checks imposed by the design codes and/or the design engineers and (iv) efficient optimization algorithm for achieving optimized designs that satisfy both design requirements and economic, manufacturability or performance criteria. ACE OCP harnesses technology to drive efficiency, increase performance and reduce cost while preserving safety excellence.


ACE OCP is the result of over 20-years of Research and Development including practical experience in developing a general-purpose code for structural analysis and design optimization in the form of a modular standalone code co-developed by ACE-Hellas and the Institute of Structural Analysis and Antiseismic Research of NTUA. Methodology integrated into ACE OCP add-on has been approved with the publication of the theoretical framework and indicative results in the official Journal ( of the International Society for Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization (ISSMO,

ACE OCP is based on the next generation computational procedures and the implementation of such computing tools is expected to have a profound impact in optimized design of structural systems, leading to revolutionary changes in civil engineering design practice. Effectively, it makes value engineering available to every professional engineer.

ACE OCP add-on has been successfully implemented in a variety of real-world structural systems, leading to cost reduction of up to 30%. Among others it has been used for optimizing the Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) and the Beijing National Aquatics Centre (Water Cube) where ACE OCP produced design improvements leading to a cost reduction of 10%. In other projects ACE OCP delivered improved designs to drive better structural performance while maintaining the same financial allocation.

ACE-Hellas S.A.

Integrated Solutions