This paper addresses the use of optimization techniques in the design of a steel riser. Two methods are used: the genetic algorithm, which imitates the process of natural selection, and the simulated annealing, which is based on the process of annealing of a metal. Both of them are capable of searching a given solution space for the best feasible riser configuration according to predefined criteria. Optimization issues are discussed, such as problem codification, parameter selection, definition of objective function, and restrictions. A comparison between the results obtained for economic and structural objective functions is made for a case study. Optimization method parallelization is also addressed.