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A mixed approach (GA-BEM) based on the genetic algorithm (GA) and the boundary element method (BEM) is presented to reconstruct the shapes of conducting cylinders. The forward scattering of a conducting cylinder is analyzed by BEM, then the objective function is constructed in terms of the maximum difference between the computed scattering fields and the measured fields, where the optimization variables are the shape parameters of the conducting cylinder. Finally the objective function is minimized based on GA. Numerical results are presented to demonstrate the validity of this approach.