The research group “Optimization Systems” is engaged in current topics of research and deals with interdisciplinary questions concerning logistics, production management and informatics. Members of the research group are students and research assistants. Together they work out solutions for diverse problems.
On the one hand, these problems are of a fundamental and theoretical nature; on the other hand, it is also dealt with practical tasks, such as the implementation and evaluation of different optimization methods. The problems of our research are highly complex from the area of combinatorial optimization that are very difficult to solve exactly, for instance, problems of machine scheduling or a wide range of Traveling Salesman and Vehicle Routing Problems.
Our main focus lies on optimization methods analogous to nature. Such methods provide impressive results and define a very interesting research field. Examples of such methods from a bionics background are evolutionary methods (e.g. Evolutionary Algorithms and Genetic Algorithms) and Ant Colony Optimization. Exact mathematical solution methods used for solving optimization problems are also part of our research.
Evolutionary methods simulate the process of evolution according to the evolutionary theory. The core idea of evolution is that a population of individuals adapts as quickly and as effectively as possible to the environment in order to ensure the survival. In evolutionary optimization systems possible solutions for a problem are represented as individuals whose population is capable of adapting to given objectives or required characteristics of the solution, for instance, low costs and short processing times.
Ant-Colony-Algorithms are procedures that adopt the behavior of ants on a quest for food. Ants are state-building insects that have the astonishing ability of developing a collective intelligence. During the search for food ants leave behind so-called pheromones (smell particles) which are useful for the orientation of the following ants. Through this form of communication certain ant species have developed a collective behavior allowing them to find the shortest way from a food source to their ant colony and to do this within a very short time which ultimately enables them to transport the maximum amount of food to their colony.