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Innovative, open magnet designs for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of parts of human body have been recently proposed. These open configurations require notable skill in the design phase to obtain satisfactory performance in terms of compactness and field homogeneity; optimization techniques thus seems adequate to assist the designer of such devices. A novel optimization scheme, based on a genetic algorithm (GA) has been implemented for the resolution of this problem. The GA seems well suited for this applications thanks to its ability in exploring the whole design parameters space, not being trapped by local minima, but some improvements have been implemented, namely floating point parameter representation, introduction of a directional mutation operator and adaptive probability of operators action.