On October 29, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Simulation and Modelling (SIM) group of Prof. Dr. Helena Szczerbicka at the Institut of Systems Engineering (ISE) of the Leibniz University Hannover in Hannover, Germany.

The SIM group conducts fundamental and applied research in the fields of modeling, simulation, and optimization. They are especially interested in the modeling of complex systems (such as technical processes) with discrete simulations, stochastic Petri nets, and multi-agent systems, the analysis of models, the simulation of algorithms in the domain of "search & rescue", bio-inspired algorithms for optimization of networks, anomaly detection, online simulations for control (e.g., in construction side vehicles and heat distribution networks, as well as algorithms and standards for co-simulation (e.g. ACOSAR). Prof. Szczerbicka furthermore is a highly respected member of the Society for Computer Simulation International, in which she had several leading positions for several years.

It was very nice to meet Prof. Szczerbicka and her group and my presentation was received well. I very much enjoyed the very interesting and inspiring discussion afterwards.

On October 26, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the junior professor chair for information systems and operations research of Prof. Dr. Lin Xie at the Institute of Information Systems (IIS) of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany.

Prof. Xie has contributed valuable research on applied optimization, covering topics such as automated warehousing fulfillment systems and crew rostering. She emphasizes on the importance of modelling for making complex decisions. Application areas with such scenarios are often logistics and transportation, such as public bus systems. Another application field processed by Prof. Xie and her group is the assessment and developments of algorithms for routing multiple robots through warehouses in order to transport items for storage. This work is actually quite related to our research direction on rigorous performance analysis of algorithms, but also features other important aspects. Her other areas of interest include operations research and data science.

Meeting Prof. Xie and her group was very nice and my talk was received with interest by a large audience. The positive feedback on the talk was very encouraging and the following discussion with Prof. Xie was very interesting – especially since our works on algorithm analysis are highly related.

On October 25, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the CSLog research group of Prof. Dr. Nicole Megow at the Fachbereich 3: Mathematik/Informatik, University of Bremen in Bremen, Germany.

The research of the CSLog group is centered on combinatorial optimization, often on the interface between logistics, mathematics, and computer science. They analyze the structure of discrete problems and design efficient algorithms with provable performance guarantees for solving them. Another strand of research is on solving combinatorial problems under incomplete information, as well as the development online, stochastic or robust algorithms. They contribute theoretic results and also apply them in complex real-world environments. The typical application areas are scheduling, production planning, logistics, network design, communication and routing in networks, and health care.

The application areas interesting for CSLog are very similar to those interesting to our team, which made the visit even more interesting for me. The audience of my talk was interested in the presented concepts and we had a nice discussion afterwards. I was very happy to meet Prof. Megow and her group and found the outstanding rigor and quality of their work very impressing. From our discussion, I could take home several new ideas, so the exchange the thoughts was definitely helpful for me. 

On October 24, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Computational Intelligence research group of Prof. Dr. Oliver Kramer at the Department of Computing Science, School of Computing Science, Business Administration, Economics, and Law of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg in Oldenburg, Germany.

The Computational Intelligence group contributes research on many topics centered around evolution strategies and deep learning. Prof. Kramer is particularly focused on recurrent, convolutional, as well as large-scale neural networks, often in relationship with optimization methods such as evolutionary algorithms or swarm intelligence approaches. Other fields the group works on are dynamic and multi-objective optimization, scheduling, and machine learning for optimization or marine time series.

After having worked with Prof. Kramer on two papers remotely, I was very excited and happy to finally meet him in person. It was also very nice to present our work, which uses machine learning to analyze optimization algorithm performance, in front of a group that, too, combines machine learning and optimization. My talk was well-received and led to very nice discussions afterwards. I also had the chance to attend two Master's thesis presentations, which were both very interesting. What impressed a lot was the high enthusiasm for their subject that all of the team members of Prof. Kramer showed – enthusiasm which leads to excellent results.

On October 23, 2018, I gave my research talk Automating Scientific Research in Optimization at the Distributed Systems Group of Prof. Dr. Kurt Geihs of the Fachbereich 16: Elektrotechnik/Informatik of my old university, the University of Kassel, in Germany.

The Distributed Systems research group of the University of Kassel in Germany addresses in teaching and research a broad spectrum of distributed computing topics. Its subjects range from theoretical foundations to applied system and software engineering issues. Its current research areas are the design and implementation of context-aware and adaptive distributed systems, cooperative autonomous robots, socially aware computing, and service-oriented architectures. A lot of interesting research contributions have resulted from their excellent robotic soccer team. Here, challenges from such diverse fields as vision, behavior modeling, artificial intelligence, dynamic software configuration, multicast communication, reasoning, and even mechanical and electrical engineering have been tackled.

After my short visit last year, it was a great pleasure to meet my PhD supervisor, Prof. Dr. Kurt Geihs, again and give a talk at the group where I did my PhD almost ten years ago. As always here, the atmosphere is really nice and there was an interesting discussion wit the audience after the talk.

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