Abstract : In additive manufacturing process support structures are often required to ensure the quality of the final built part. In this article we present mathematical models and their numerical implementations in an optimization loop, which allow us to design optimal support structures. Our models are derived with the requirement that they should be as simple as possible, computationally cheap and yet based on a realistic physical modeling. Supports are optimized with respect to two different physical properties. First, they must support overhanging regions of the structure for improving the stiffness of the supported structure during the building process. Second, supports can help in channeling the heat flux produced by the source term (typically a laser beam) and thus improving the cooling down of the structure during the fabrication process. Of course, more involved constraints or manufacturability conditions could be taken into account, most notably removal of supports. Our work is just a first step, proposing a general framework for support optimization. Our optimization algorithm is based on the level set method and on the computation of shape derivatives by the Hadamard method. In a first approach, only the shape and topology of the supports are optimized, for a given and fixed structure. In second and more elaborated strategy, both the supports and the structure are optimized, which amounts to a specific multiphase optimization problem. Numerical examples are given in 2-d and 3-d.