1 April 2017

Vliegenthart Thesis Award for Roel van den Broek

During the University Day hosted by the Utrecht University Fund on 1 April 2017, Roel van den Broek, alumnus in Computing Science, was presented with the 2016 Vliegenthart Thesis Award. His thesis, entitled ‘Train Shunting and Service Scheduling: an integrated local search approach’, made a big impression on the jury of five. 'His thesis is a perfect example of fundamental research with a crucial impact.' Van den Broek's research wins him the sum of €2,000.

The winning thesis offers a solution to the complex scheduling of shunting, cleaning and minor maintenance on trains at NS service locations. When Van den Broek began his research at NedTrain, scheduling was done manually; a difficult and time-consuming process. Van den Broek's research involved developing an advanced algorithm based on local search that automates this process. NedTrain started to use the software developed by Van den Broek immediately, and created a PhD candidate position for him. 

All of the jury members were impressed by the transparent, accurate and concise presentation of the research. This clearly demonstrates the exceptional qualities of this candidate.
From the jury's report

The jury praised the quality and applicability of Van den Broek's research. From the jury report: "The clear description of the problem, the fact that Van den Broek presented a complete solution, and the flawless textual quality of the thesis made a particular impression on the jury. All of the jury members were impressed by the transparent, accurate and concise presentation of the research. This clearly demonstrates the exceptional qualities of this candidate."

Alumni of the master Earth Structure and Dynamics McGregor Drummond and Annemarieke Béguin were both granted an honorable mention. Drummond for his thesis ‘The effect of giant impactors on the magnetic field energy of an early Martian dynamo’; Béguin for her thesis ‘Micromagnetic Tomography in Practice’. 

VLIEGENTHART THESIS AWARD
The Vliegenthart Thesis Award was established to mark the departure of Prof. Hans Vliegenthart as chairperson of the Utrecht University Fund in 2004. The prize involves a sum of €2,000, and is awarded in turn to the disciplines of Humanities, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Social and Behavioural Sciences. Each year, a maximum of two honourable mentions are awarded, each involving a sum of €500. The aim of the award is to encourage excellence among graduating students.

JURY
The theses submitted are reviewed by a jury that varies in its composition but is always chaired by Prof. Hans Vliegenthart (Emeritus Professor of Chemistry). The jury for this edition: Prof. Alfons van Blaaderen (Professor of Chemistry and Physics), Prof. Gerrit van Meer (Dean of the Faculty of Sciences), Prof. Ruud J. Schotting (Professor of Quantitative Water Management) and Prof. Sjoerd Verduyn Lunel (Professor of Mathematics).