Operations Research (OR) is a discipline that deals with the development and application of advanced analytical methods to improve decision-making. Our main focus is on scheduling: the allocation of tasks to scarce resources over time. Scheduling is a generic challenge that occurs in many domains such as transportation, logistics, energy, education and healthcare.
Our research is strongly oriented on applications, such public transportation, logistics, energy systems, education and healthcare. We performed many successful projects together with industry. Currently we cooperate with NS, Qbuzz, ProRail, KLM, Tennet, KNMI, Jumbo, and EnergyWorx. We own joint positions with NS and KLM within the KickstartAI program and are a main contributor of the Utrecht AI & Mobility Lab.
Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence
In our research characteristics from practice are combined with state-of-the-art theoretical models. When solving planning and scheduling problems, we try to include as many of the important side-constraints as possible, even though this increases the complexity: the goal is to develop novel algorithms that push the boundary of what is computable. Many challenges in applications are too complex to be solved by mathematical methods. We often investigate heuristic methods from Artificial Intelligence such as local search, or hybrid methods that combine AI and mathematical programming.
Operations Research in Computer Science
Researching OR in a computer science department is unique in the Netherlands. Usually, OR is done at Mathematics, Econometrics or Business departments. Working at computer science has important advantages:
- we can work with students who have strong programming skills and, therefore, have excellent possibilities for computational research
- we have close connections to computer science disciplines that are important for OR such as data analysis, machine learning, and parallel programming.