The present study addresses a parallel solution algorithm for optimum design of large steel space frame structures, in particular high-rise steel buildings. The algorithm implements a novel discrete evolution strategy optimization method to effectively size these systems for minimum weight according to the provisions of ASD-AISC specification and various practical aspects of design process. The multitasking environment in the algorithm rests on a master-slave model based parallelization of the optimization procedure, which provides an ideal platform for attaining optimal solutions in a timely manner without losing accuracy in computations. Three design examples from the category of high-rise steel buildings are studied extensively to demonstrate cost-efficiency of the algorithm in conjunction with a cluster of computers with 32 processors. The variation in performance of the parallel computing system with respect to the number of processors employed is also scrutinized in each design example. (C) 2011 Civil-Comp Ltd and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.