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This paper presents the basic principles and main properties of hierarchical control structures, which can be applied in steady-state optimization of complex systems. An essential feature of the structures considered in this paper is the use of feedback from the controlled system, along with the mathematical models. Suitable iterative procedures, preferably starting from the open-loop optimum, are proposed and investigated at some length. The stress of most of the discussion is on inequality constraints and on model-reality differences, which are unavoidable in any application of computer control.