Modelling, simulation and optimization form an integrated part of modern design practice in engineering and industry. Tremendous progress has been observed for all three components over the last few decades. However, many challenging issues remain unresolved, and the current trends tend to use nature-inspired algorithms and surrogate-based techniques for modelling and optimization. This 4th workshop on Computational Optimization, Modelling and Simulation (COMS 2013) at ICCS 2013 will further summarize the latest developments of optimization and modelling and their applications in science, engineering and industry. In this review paper, we will analyse the recent trends in modelling and optimization, and their associated challenges. We will discuss important topics for further research, including parameter-tuning, large-scale problems, and the gaps between theory and applications.