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Describes a new way to reach a compromise between simplicity and accuracy in active device modeling for computer-aided circuit design. In contrast to the conventional approach founded on the use of preliminary optimized `fixed-structure' models, a method is introduced based on consistent model optimization during the circuit analysis procedure. For the application of the method it is necessary to develop a family of recursive models with different accuracy for each kind of active device and to establish an algorithm of model simplification in accordance with a prescribed accuracy. A family of models is presented as well as one of the possible optimization procedures for MOS transistor circuits. The same method may be used for the analysis of circuits with other active devices. The method helps to gain significant CPU time economy without loss of accuracy in comparison with the conventional approach. This procedure may be easily inserted into any of the existing computer-aided design programs.