In February 1992, I defended my doctoral thesis: Engineering Optimiza tion - selected contributions (IMSOR, The Technical University of Den mark, 1992, p. 92). This dissertation presents retrospectively my central contributions to the theoretical and applied aspects of optimization. When I had finished my thesis I became interested in editing a volume related to a new expanding area of applied optimization. I considered several approaches: simulated annealing, tabu search, genetic algorithms, neural networks, heuristics, expert systems, generalized multipliers, etc. Finally, I decided to edit a volume related to simulated annealing. My main three reasons for this choice were the following: (i) During the last four years my colleagues at IMSOR and I have car ried out several applied projects where simulated annealing was an essential. element in the problem-solving process. Most of the avail able reports and papers have been written in Danish. After a short review I was convinced that most of these works deserved to be pub lished for a wider audience. (ii) After the first reported applications of simulated annealing (1983- 1985), a tremendous amount of theoretical and applied work have been published within many different disciplines. Thus, I believe that simulated annealing is an approach that deserves to be in the curricula of, e.g. Engineering, Physics, Operations Research, Math ematical Programming, Economics, System Sciences, etc. (iii) A contact to an international network of well-known researchers showed that several individuals were willing to contribute to such a volume.