Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc.

VisualDOC - Software for Process Integration and Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

VisualDOC is a general purpose multidisciplinary design, optimization, and process integration software. It is a tool for design process definition, integration, execution, and automation. The design modules included are Optimization, Design of Experiments, Response Surface Approximation, and Probabilistic (Robust and Reliability-based) Analysis. It can be used to add these modules to almost any analysis program.

VisualDOC allows the user to graphically create a connected workflow of components and define each component in the flowchart appropriately. It’s features include comprehensive concurrent monitoring and visualization tools, storage and reuse of generated simulation data for post-processing, full debugging support for model execution, and the ability to interactively inspect and monitor the design process.

VisualDOC can integrate with Excel, Matlab, various CAE software, and user-defined libraries and executables. Scripting support (via python) is included in VisualDOC. It also supports batch-mode execution and provides programmatic access to all the included design modules. VisualDOC API can be used to embed the included design algorithms into user's own program. The API is provided with interfaces for Fortran, C, and C++.


  • Automate your design processes
  • Reduce cost and design cycle time
  • Improve product reliability and efficiency
  • From concept, preliminary, and/or detailed design to manufacture
  • Share and distribute your design process


  • Add optimization and/or other design module to virtually any CAE analysis software
  • Define your design process as a flowchart (natural and intuitive interface)
  • Combine analysis and simulation data from multiple disciplines
  • Perform various trade-off studies and identify important design parameters
  • Share information and data for better decision making
  • Large data support
  • Powerful and comprehensive Simulation Data Management (SDM) capability


VisualDOC can perform linear, non-linear, constrained and unconstrained, as well as integer, discrete and mixed optimization. The optimization types available in VisualDOC include: Gradient-based, Non-gradient-based, Response Surface Optimization, and Reliability-based design optimization. Multi-objective optimization is also available in VisualDOC.

Direct Gradient-based Optimization (DGO): VisualDOC calls DOT and BIGDOT to perform gradient-based optimization. The following optimization algorithms are included.
  • Modified Method of Feasible Direction (MMFD)
  • Sequential Linear Programming (SLP)
  • Sequential Quadratic Programming (SQP)
  • Sequential Unconstrained Optimization (BIGDOT)
  • Broydon Fletcher Goldfarb Shanno (BFGS)
  • Fletcher-Reeves (FR)
Non-gradient based optimization (NGO): VisualDOC includes state-of-the-art non-gradient based optimization methods. These methods attempt to emulate the natural phenomenon by modeling the optimization process such that it can be mapped to the entities of the natural process in an abstract sense. The following non-gradient-based optimization methods are included.
  • Particle swarm optimization (PSO)
  • Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II (NSGAII)

Multi-objective Optimization: In VisualDOC, the user can easily generate a Pareto-optimal (PO) front with NSGA-II or any other optimization method. To generate a PO front with single-objective optimization algorithms, scalarization using methods such as weighted-sum, ε-constraint, or compromise programming can be performed, and VisualDOC systematically varies the weight/ε-value/targets to generate the entire PO front.