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The formulation and solution of optimal control problems that arise in the study of an ethylene producing plant are discussed. Control problems are stated that involve a single pyrolysis reactor and a set of identical reactors operating in parallel. Typical dynamic optimization results are given, along with some thoughts on suboptimal control policies and performance sensitivity to process parameter variations. A new type of control problem is considered that involves constraints on control values that are separated in time by multiples of a constant time shift value.