On Friday, February 2nd, I attended the Hefei City Chinese-Foreign Friendship Spring Festival Celebration [合肥市举办2018年华人华侨友好人士新春联谊会] held by the Hefei Municipal Government and the Hefei Overseas Chinese Affairs Office [侨务处]. The event was really nice, at a very beautiful venue, and well-attended with over 60 delegates. A welcome speech was given by the Hefei City Vice-Mayor Qingen Peng [彭庆恩], followed by discussion contributions by several international delegates.

I had the honor to also give a short speech, which I used to thank the Hefei Administration and Hefei University for the excellent support they provide for international experts. The nice environment that they have created allows us foreigners to feel at home in Hefei. During my eight years working full-time in Hefei, I have witnessed an incredible growth and development. I am therefore convinced that this city has a great future and I used this opportunity to express these feelings. Unfortunately, I had a very bad cold on that day and therefore had to leave early.

Portrait of Dr. Zhen LIU.

The Institute of Applied Optimization welcomes Dr. Zijun Wu [吴自军], who today has officially joined our team as researcher. Before joining our institute, he was an Assistant Professor at the Beijing Institute for Scientific and Engineering Computing (BISEC) [北京科学与工程计算研究院] of the Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) [北京工业大学] in Beijing [北京], China. He received his Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Clausthal University of Technology (Technische Universität Clausthal) in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany in 2015 and his M.Sc. in Pure Mathematics from the Sichuan University [四川大学], Chengdu, Sichuan [四川], China in 2010. Dr. Wu is an expert in Traffic Optimization (traffic analysis and congestion pricing), Operations Research (evolutionary algorithms, NP-hard problems, simulation-based optimization), Statistics and Machine Learning (stochastic process, time series forecasting, clustering and neural networks), Mathematics (measure and probability), and Theoretical Computer Science (theory of natural inspired computing).

We are very happy to have Dr. Wu in our team and look forward to working together on many interesting applications of optimization methods.

Our institute welcomes Dr. Markus Wagner, Senior Lecturer from the Optimisation and Logistics Group of the School of Computer Science of The University of Adelaide, SA, Australia, for a research visit from January 2 to January 7. The members of the Optimisation and Logistics Group in Adelaide research optimization methods that are frequently used to solve hard and complex optimization problems. These include linear programming, branch and bound, genetic algorithms, evolution strategies, genetic programming, ant colony optimization, local search, and others. The areas of interest of Dr. Wagner are heuristic optimization and applications thereof. His work draws on computational complexity analysis and on performance landscape analysis. This is his second visit to our group, after his stay here last October/November. Dr. Wagner and the members of our institute will spend most of his visiting time to continue the work we started back then, i.e., on joint research and on developing future joint projects and collaborations.

Short Biography

Dr. Markus Wagner is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computer Science, University of Adelaide, Australia. He has done his PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, Germany and at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His research topics range from mathematical runtime analysis of heuristic optimization algorithms and theory-guided algorithm design to applications of heuristic methods to renewable energy production, professional team cycling and software engineering. So far, he has been a program committee member 30 times, and he has written over 70 articles with over 70 different co-authors. He has chaired several education-related committees within the IEEE CIS, is Co-Chair of ACALCI 2017 and General Chair of ACALCI 2018. Dr. Wagner is also a co-chair of our workshops Black-Box Discrete Optimization Benchmarking (BB-DOB@GECCO) Workshop, Black-Box Discrete Optimization Benchmarking (BB-DOB@PPSN), both organized together with Profs. Pietro S. Oliveto (University of Sheffield), Thomas Weise, Borys Wróbel (Adam Mickiewicz University), and Aleš Zamuda (University of Maribor), as well as the Workshop International Workshop on Benchmarking of Computational Intelligence Algorithms (BOCIA) and a co-guest editor of the Special Issue on Benchmarking of Computational Intelligence Algorithms in the Computational Intelligence Journal with Profs. Thomas Weise, Bin Li (USTC), Xingyi Zhang (Anhui University), and Jörg Lässig (University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz).

Today, Prof. Dr. Thomas Weise has joined the Editorial Board of the Applied Soft Computing journal published by Elsevier and indexed by SCI and EI with an impact factor of 3.541 during the last two years and 3.811 during the previous five years. The topics of this journal and the research focus of our Institute fit very closely together: we develop tailor-made applications of optimization, Operations Research, Computational Intelligence, Evolutionary Computation, Metaheuristics, as well as Machine Learning and Data Mining for industry partners to help them to become more efficient, faster, and environmentally friendlier while, at the same time, reducing costs and improving product and service quality. Applied Soft Computing is an international journal promoting an integrated view of soft computing to solve real life problems. Soft computing is a collection of methodologies, which aim to exploit tolerance for imprecision, uncertainty and partial truth to achieve tractability, robustness and low solution cost. The focus is to publish the highest quality research in application and convergence of the areas of Fuzzy Logic, Neural Networks, Evolutionary Computing, Rough Sets and other similar techniques to address real world complexities.

The Black-Box Discrete Optimization Benchmarking Workshop (BB-DOB@PPSN) has just been accepted to be a part of the Fifteenth International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN XV), September 8-12, 2018, in Coimbra, Portugal: http://ppsn2018.dei.uc.pt/).

The Black-Box-Optimization Benchmarking (BBOB) methodology introduced by the long-standing and successful BBOB-GECCO workshops series has become a well-established standard for benchmarking continuous optimization algorithms. The aim of workshop is to develop a similar standard methodology for the benchmarking of black-box optimization algorithms for discrete and combinatorial domains. The goal of this second edition of the BB-DOB workshop series is to define a suitable set of benchmark functions for discrete and combinatorial optimization problems.

Our workshop is cordially inviting the submission of original and unpublished research papers. Here you can download the BB-DOB@PPSN Workshop Call for Papers (CfP) in PDF format and here as plain text file. The deadline for workshop submissions will be June 26, 2018.

Disclaimer: Two BB-DOB workshops will take place in 2018, i.e., the first edition as BB-DOB@GECCO and the second edition as BB-DOB@PPSN. Both are independent events of the same series.

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