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.

Today, I had the great pleasure of teaching my short course Metaheuristics for Smart Manufacturing [智能制造的元启发式算法] at the Quanzhou University of Information Engineering [泉州信息工程学院] in Quanzhou city [泉州市] in the Fujian province [福建省] as part of the 2018 Teacher Training Program of the Sino-German Center for Education Cooperation and Development of the Fujian Province [中德(福建)教育合作与发展师资培训项目] with the topic "Intelligent Manufacturing". The course was given as two 2-hour lectures to an audience of about 30 key teachers from more than 20 higher vocational colleges in the province who mainly specialized in the field of mechanical engineering.

Today, on Thursday, July 26, 2018, our first Institute Workshop on Applied Optimization took place. Three talks were contributed by our researchers as well as our international guest researcher Dr. Mohammad Ali Raayatpanah [محمدعلی رعایت پناه] from the Kharazmi University [دانشگاه خوارزمی] in Iran [جمهوری اسلامی ایران]. We believe that a good way to good research is cooperation and the exchange of thoughts. It is especially good to discuss about research from different, but related fields. Each talk led to interesting conversations and hopefully has opened up opportunities for even more inspiring discussions and joint research. This workshop was succeeded by the Second Institute Workshop on Applied Optimization: Seminar on Operations Research and Optimization in 2019.

Prof. Dr. Rolf H. Möhring from the Fachgebiet Kombinatorische Optimierung und Graphenalgorithmen (COGA) of the Institut für Mathematik at the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) in Berlin, Germany, visited visited our institute from June 5 to 8, 2018. He presented his research talk "Dynamic Network Routing: Meeting the Challenge of Complex Traffic and Transportation Tasks" on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at 09:30 AM in the Meeting Room of the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology of Hefei University [合肥学院] Building 36, 3rd Floor, Room 305 [合肥学院 计算机科学与技术系 合肥市 230601蜀山区 经济技术开发区 南2区/南艳湖校区 锦绣大道99号 36栋 305会议室]. The talk was open to all interested audience and very well attended. Here you can find the slides of the talk and here the poster.

Today, I had the honor to attend the World Manufacturing Convention 2018 [世界制造业大会], taking place from April 24 to 26, 2018, here in Hefei [合肥], Anhui [安徽], China. The event follows the motto Shaping the Future of Manufacturing and is under the co-chairmanship of Christian Wulff, the former President of Germany, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former Prime Minister of the French Republic, Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, who all also give keynote speeches, as well as the Party Secretary and the Governor of the Province Anhui, amongst others. The convention is organized by by the Anhui Provincial Government, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Alliance of SMEs (GASME), and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries [中国人民对外友好协会]. The conference is attented by representatives from 70 countries and from several Fortune 500 companies, such as Volkswagen, HP, General Motors and Microsoft. The goal is to discuss topics revolving around smart manufacturing, such as artificial intelligence, operations research, the Internet of Things (IOT), and robotics, but also smart homes and consumer goods.

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