Our team warmly welcomes Mrs. Yuanyuan LEI [雷园园], Mr. Zhiyang LIU [刘志洋] , Mr. Peng GAO [高鹏], and Mrs. Shuoyi RAN [冉烁依] to join our team as graduate students for the period from 2020 to 2023. Mr. LEI and Mrs. GAO will be supervised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Xinlu Li, whereas Mr. LIU and Mrs. RAN will be jointly co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Thomas Weise and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zhize Wu. We are looking forward to working with you. Welcome aboard!

Today, on September 29, 2020, I attended the Mid-Autumn Tea Party for People from All Walks of Life [合肥市各界人士国庆中秋茶话会] in the city hall of Hefei [合肥市]. Like last year’s celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China, it was a very nice event. As the name suggests, the event was attended by people from a variety of different career paths, including business representatives, representatives from several different religions, party members, military leaders, researchers, and representatives of the international community of our city. The event began with four ceremonial speeches – the first of which was held by Prof. Dr. Chunmei WU [吴春梅], the president of our Hefei University [合肥学院院长]. Then, a very nice program with different songs followed. There were several professional opera singers giving great performances. I found the performance of the CPCC youth chorus especially nice, because they are normal employees of the city hall and government, but they sang absolutely perfectly. In summary, this was a very enjoyable afternoon and I even had the chance to chat with some new friends. I hope that I will be able to attend more such events in the future.

In the afternoon of September 22, 2020, the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Holiday Celebration for Foreign Experts [2020年度在皖高层次外国专家迎中秋庆国庆活动] of our province Anhui [安徽] took place at the Anhui Museum of Innovation [安徽创新馆]. The event was co-organized by the Department of Science and Technology of the Province Anhui [安徽省科学技术厅], the Hefei Municipal Bureau of Science and Technology [合肥市科学技术局], the Public Relations Department of the Provincial Party Committee [安徽省委宣传部], and the museum itself. More than 30 foreign experts from more than 10 different countries attended this event – a very high number given the current international COVID-19 pandemic. Together with Mr. Lei HONG [洪磊] of our International Office, I attended this event as representatives of our Hefei University [合肥学院].

On September 15, 2020, Prof. Weise introduced the team of our Institute of Applied Optimization (IAO) [应用优化研究所] to the fresh graduate students of our the School of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data [人工智能与大数据学院]. Each of our team members follows a different research direction within the overall field of Computational Intelligence, Optimization, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Within the framework of our research, we can offer science-centric graduate student supervision. The presentation of our group's work has been received well, and several graduate students will join our team soon. We are looking forward to welcome them!

Today, our  Special Issue on Benchmarking of Computational Intelligence Algorithms in the Applied Soft Computing Journal (ASOC) has finally been completed. We accepted 14 articles, which either introduce new new benchmarks or benchmark generators, propose new visualization and evaluation methods, provide new tools, or study general topics in the field. Each article makes an important contribution to the art of analyzing and understanding the performance of computational intelligence methods. We are very thankful to the ASOC journal to allow us to make this happen – and especially for the outstanding support and the help provided by Mario Koeppen and Bas van Vlijmen of the editor team as well as Xinrui Wang, the publishing specialized at Elsevier. Of course, we are as same as thankful to our authors and reviewers, who put in a lot of work to ensure that all articles were refined and refined and refined again until they were perfect. Now that the editorial of the issue is out, this journey is complete. Benchmarking of optimization is an interesting topic which is gaining more and more momentum in the research community. For instance, there currently is a large community effort ongoing with the goal to gather good practices for benchmarking, which resulted in the technical report Benchmarking in Optimization: Best Practice and Open Issues and to which we are also contributing (and which directly picks up some of the topics tackled in our special issue).

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