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We describe and demonstrate the use of the nonlinear boundary method for 3-D simulation of semiconductor light-emitting and laser diodes. This method takes advantage of a dominant nonlinear behavior of the geometrically thin active layer in practical optoelectronic devices. This allows one to reduce the modeling only to the active layer coupled to the optical cavity. The reduction is achieved by expressing the nonuniform current injection from bulk regions into the layer using a surface integral, and does not involve any approximations. Using a device meshed with tetrahedral Delaunay meshes, we compare the performance of the boundary method against the more common method based on volume discretization, and show its advantages and limitations.