Development of efficient and robust optimization methods for structural design is one of the most active research fields in structural engineering. Imperialist Competitive Algorithm (ICA) is one of the recent meta-heuristic algorithms proposed to solve optimization problems. In this paper, an Enhanced Imperialist Competitive Algorithm (EICA) is proposed which increases the search space and enables the ICA algorithm to escape from local optima in a fast time. In this algorithm added value is given to a slightly unfeasible solution, based on its distance from the relative imperialist. The performance of the proposed EICA algorithm in optimum design of side sway frames is investigated by comparing the EICA optimum designs of two benchmark side sway frames with the best designs obtained using a number of other meta-heuristic solutions. Results indicate that, in terms of both the design quality and the solution speed, EICA compares favorably with a number of other meta-heuristic optimizers, including the basic ICA.
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