The development of optimum welding patterns which canreduce the adverse effects of welding is important for industry,and particularly, for shipbuilding. In this investigation, afinite element simulation was employed in order to optimizethe design of the weldment and reduce residual stresses anddistortions. A gusset plate, which was used to increase thestiffness of marine structures, was subjected to thermal loads tosimulate the effect of the welding process. Temperaturedistributions were obtained as a solution of the nonlineartransient problem of thermal conductivity. These distributionswere then used to calculate residual stresses and distortion bysolving thermo-elastic-plastic problems. The results indicateda significant reduction in the distortion when a plate withcircular slots and interrupted welding was used instead of acontinuously welded solid plate.