On October 15, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the chair of Algorithmic and Discrete Mathematics of Prof. Dr. Christoph Helmberg at the Department of Mathematics of the Chemnitz University of Technology in Chemnitz, Germany.

Prof. Helmberg is mainly interested in research on discrete optimization, semidefinite programming, and convex optimization as well as their applications. He has led several successful industry projects with partners such as Deutsche Bahn, Herlitz PBS, and Nokia Siemens Networks. His team works on a variety of theoretical aspects and improvements of optimization algorithms as well as on concrete applications, including the synergetic interplay of energy and information technology and optimization of schedules in manufacturing systems.

Although the group's focus is more on linear relaxation, they were interested in the talk topic and we had a very lively discussion afterwards. It is always nice to come back to my uni, presenting in the same rooms where I learned as a student 15 years ago. And Prof. Helmberg was a great host, too.

On October 12, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the chair of Mathematical Programming of Prof. Dr. Stephan Dempe at the Institute for Numerical Mathematics and Optimization of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg in Freiberg, Germany.

Prof. Dempe is well known for his works on algorithms for discrete and non-differential optimization problems, and especially for his many years of great contributions to the fields of bi-level and multi-level programming. As part of this outstanding work on bi-level programming, he frequently publishes articles in top-level journals. The Optimization Team as a whole conducts research on mathematical optimization in the fields of parametric and non-differential optimization, as well as in uncertain and discrete optimization, also including transportation problems.

The very international audience attending my talk was quite interested in the topics discussed and we had a nice discussion afterwards. I was very happy about the chance to meet Prof. Dempe, who, like me, has spent a share of his academic life a the TU Chemnitz.

On October 11, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Chair of Numerical Optimization of Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer, director of the Optimization Group, at the Institute of Numerical Mathematics, Faculty of Mathematics of the Technische Universität Dresden.

The Optimization Group is focused on the design, analysis, and application of efficient numerical algorithms for a variety of different classes of optimization problems. They solve smooth problems with non-linear constraints, non-smooth and degenerate problems, as well discrete/combinatorial optimization tasks. They mainly focus on developing exact methods. Special application areas where the group has made outstanding contributions are, for instance, cutting stock-, skiving stock-, and packing problems, optimization tasks in machine learning, highly-adaptive energy-efficient computing, as well as high-speed wireless communication.

It was very nice presenting at the TU Dresden and I am thankful to Prof. Fischer for his hospitality. The talk was received well and we had an interesting set of questions and answers afterwards.

On October 10, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Computational Intelligence Group of Prof. Dr. Sanaz Mostaghim at the Institute of Intelligent Cooperating Systems, Faculty of Computer Science of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg (OVGU, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg).

The Computational Intelligence Group has a long and very successful tradition in the field of Computational Intelligence, both in theoretical research as well as in practical application. They focus on the fields of swarm intelligence and swarm robotics. The group also contributes excellent research on Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs), multi-objective optimization and decision making, artificial life, and evolutionary robotics. Multi-objective decision making is a very important branch of optimization, since most problems in the real world present themselves as trade-offs between different goals, e.g., cost vs. speed, cost vs. quality. Multi-objective EAs are currently among the best methods to tackle such problems. Swarm intelligence and swarm robotics play a bigger and bigger role, e.g., in logistics as well as in traffic planning. Since I work in the domain of EAs for more than dozen years now, and our presented benchmarking method directly applies there, this gave us a good starting point for interesting discussions.

I had a nice visit to the group last year, too, and back then was hosted by Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kruse, who now has become an emeritus member but still attended my talk this time. It was a real pleasure to visit this research group again and see the great work that Prof. Mostaghim is doing. I am very thankful for their hospitality.

On October 8, 2018, I gave the research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Mathematics of Transportation and Logistics group of Prof. Dr. Ralf Borndörfer at the Mathematical Optimization department, Mathematical Optimization and Scientific Information division of the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) in Berlin, Germany.

The Mathematical Optimization department of the ZIB contributes research on modeling, simulation, and optimization methods for difficult problems in transport and logistics, telecommunications, energy supply, and healthcare. They combine theoretical insight and practical experience to optimization software for cooperation partners such as Lufthansa or Deutsche Bahn. The group is strong in fundamental research on branch-and-cut-and-price algorithms, graph theory, combinatorics, algorithmic game theory, and convex optimization, especially applicable to large-scale models. They often combine multiple different aspects of a real-world optimization problem, such as different objectives, handle data uncertainty, parallelize algorithms, and develop new decomposition techniques, as well as adaptive and dynamic methods.

Prof. Borndörfer has worked on many interesting projects, especially with the goal to improve the efficiency of public and private transportation systems, such as optimized infrastructure design with respect to passenger behavior in public transport, rolling stock roster planning for railways, multi-day cyclic rotations for trains, service design in public transport, solving the vehicle positioning problem, airline crew scheduling, and cyclic roster planning in public transport.

The background of this group is highly interesting for me. On one hand, our team member Dr. Zijun Wu, works on algorithmic game theory especially with respect to traffic optimization. On the other hand, we also have conducted quite a lot of research on logistics too, e.g., for the Traveling Salesman Problem. There was much to discuss – especially since the algorithm performance analysis methods we develop also fit to the iterative natures of algorithms of the branch-and-bound family.

It was a real pleasure to visit this research group, to meet Prof. Borndörfer and to meet Prof. Möhring again, who helped in arranging the meeting. I am very thankful to both professors and to the kind audience. really enjoyed our talk.

feed-image rss feed-image atom