We survey contemporary optimization techniques and relate these to optimization problems which arise in the design of integrated circuits. Theory, algorithms, and programs are reviewed, and an assessment is made of the impact optimization has had and will have on integrated-circuit design. Integrated circuits are characterized by complex tradeoffs between multiple nonlinear objectives with multiple nonlinear and sometimes nonconvex constraints. Function and gradient evaluations require the solution of very large sets of nonlinear differential equations, consequently they are inaccurate and extremely expensive. Furthermore, the parameters to be optimized are subject to inherent statistical fluctuations. We focus on those multiobjective constrained optimization techniques which are appropriate to this environment. Copyright © 1981 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.