The research group supervised by Prof. Wolfgang Konen from TH Köln has a collaboration with the Natural Computing group (head: Prof. Thomas H.W. Bäck) of the LIACS Computer Science department at Leiden University. On October,16th, 2015, a seminar took place in Leiden, Netherlands, in which both groups presented their recent research works.

The main topics of this seminar were:

  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Surrogate assisted global optimization
  • Modeling techniques (Radial Basis Functions, Kriging)

Our group gave three talks to present our recent progress in developing a software for constrained optimization problems, we also discussed the existing challenges for solving such a problem. All three talks are listed as follows:

  •  S. Bagheri, W. Konen: A new repair method for constrained optimization.
  •  W. Konen, S. Bagheri: Common pitfalls in RBF modeling.
  •  S. Bagheri, W. Konen: Solving the G-problems in less than 500 iterations: Better understanding of surrogate modeling improves efficient constrained optimization.

The other three talks given by Dr. Emmerich (Assistant Professor at Leiden University) , Hao Wang and Bas van Stein (PhD students at Leiden University)  are as follows:

  • M. Emmerich: From Data to Decisions: Recent Advances and Future Challenges in Multicriteria Optimization and Decision Making
  • H. Wang: Multi-point Efficient Global Optimization using Niching Evolution Strategy
  • B. van Stein: Cluster Kriging

Interesting talks, lively discussions, friendly atmosphere and an active and motivated research team made last Friday very productive. 










This year GECCO took place in Madrid on 11-15 of July. Many interesting tutorials and workshops were presented in this conference. On 14th of July we presented our paper about a new repair method for constrained optimization. You can download the presentation slides from here.











We are glad to inform you that SACOBRA package is now available on CRAN. 

SACOBRA package performs surrogate-assisted optimization by utilizing radial basis function interpolation. SACOBRA solver is a derivative-free optimizer appropriate to address constrained expensive optimization problems.


A new technical report on temporal difference (TD) learning for games and "self-play" algorithms for game-agent training is available. This report by Wolfgang Konen features a gentle introduction to TD learning for game play and gives hints for the practioner on the implementation of such algorithms . It shows the references to the most recent applications in this field and discusses in an appendix the more advanced topic of eligibility traces and how and why they work.

This report should be a help for people starting new in the field of TD learning for games and for people who work already in this field but struggle with specific details. It is an updated English translation of an earlier report in German language.


Konen, Wolfgang (2015): Reinforcement Learning for Board Games: The Temporal Difference Algorithm. Research Center CIOP (Computational Intelligence, Optimization and Data Mining) Cologne University of Applied Sciences, 2015.

PDF English

PDF German

Ms. Samineh Bagheri has won the 3rd price in the annual Erzquell award with her master thesis „Efficient Surrogate Assisted Optimization for Constrained Black-Box Problems“. My most cordial congratulations to her! This thesis is part of the MONREP project (Model-based Optimization for Nonlinear, REstricted Production processes) and it was conducted under my supervision. Samineh Bagheri did a great job in her thesis, she carried out complicated computer experiments and showed that certain constrained optimization problems can be solved with much less function evaluations than there are usually required in other state-of-the-art optimization algorithms like genetic or evolutionary algorithms. The main idea of her thesis is to use flexible models, which are built during the optimization run. Ms. Bagheri uses Radial Basis Function (RBF) models for that purpose.

Price Winner Erzquell

left to right: Markus Thill M.Sc., M. Bagheri, Samineh Bagheri M. Sc.,
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Konen                  (Bild: Manfred Stern / FH Köln)


Read more about the annual Erzquell award and the price winners (sorry, in German only) here. The Erzquell award has the additional advantage that they serve at the award ceremony one of the famous local beers :-) !