Combinatorial and Stochastic Optimisation

Department of Econometrics
Programme Leader: Professor L. Stougie 
E-mail l.stougie@vu.nl

Summary
Operations Research is the research field of designing and applying mathematical methods for better decision making. Traditionally, logistics has been the main application area, but modern operations research covers virtually any application domain, like finance, health care, communication technology, electronic commerce, and bioinformatics. The prominent common denominator of all these applications is optimisation. The design and analysis of algorithms for optimisation in its enormous variety is the main research topic in operations research. Efficiency of such solution methods has become more important since problems arising in the new application areas are huge: communication technology (internet) and e-commerce involve millions of potential participants, dna-strings in bioinformatics include millions of nucleotides. There is theoretical evidence that creating much faster computers will not add to our capacity in solving significantly larger problem instances. Analysing the structure of the problems by using and developing mathematical tools, in close collaboration with mathematicians and computer scientists, is the only alternative to arrive at reliable and robust methods to tackle the optimisation problems posed by society.

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