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 :-) !

Many real-world optimization problems are dealing with constraints. The valid solution for constrained optimization problems (COP) lies somewhere in the feasible region which is a sub-set of the input-space. The borders of the feasible area are defined by one or many constraints. Existance of constraints makes the optimization problems more demanding. There are different approaches to handle the constraints but none of them can outperform all others for all different types of COPs. 


There are only a few constraint handlers which work on the basis of fixing a good "infeasible solution" and generating feasible solutions by using the information coming from the infeasible candidates. We proposed a new technique to repair infeasible solutions. The correspoding work was accepted as a paper in GECCO 2015. A talk about this work will be given in GECCO conference on 11-15 of July in Madrid.

The DAAD price of Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) goes this year to  Campus Gummersbach. The Iranian master student Samineh Bagheri from the Master programme "Automation & IT" is awarded with this price. Cordial congratulations!

Fachhochschule Köln

© Schmülgen/FH Köln


More information on this year's DAAD price are found in the official press release of CUAS (in German). Mrs. Samineh Bagheri currently writes her master thesis in the context of my research project MONREP and she works in MONREP as a student research assistant as well.

The 24th Workshop Computational Intelligence 2014, an annual conference held by Computational Intelligence (CI) Chapter of VDI-GMA (Gesellschaft für Mess- und Automatisierungstechnik) in Dortmund, has attributed the Young Author Award to Patrick Koch, PhD, scientific member of my research group at Campus Gummersbach. I am very happy for him and congratulate him cordially!

He got this award for the contribution

Constrained Optimization with a Limited Number of Function Evaluations

which he wrote as main author, conjointly with Samineh Bagheri, student in the master programme "Automation & IT", Prof. Dr. Thomas Bäck, Leiden University + divis intelligent solutions GmbH, and further colleagues from divis intelligent solutions GmbH.

The Young Author Award is an annual price since the year 2000 and is the for first time attributed to a member from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and for the second time to an university of applied sciences in general.


The research leading to this contribution took place in the context of the ZIM research project MONREP. The theme of this work are optimization problems in high dimensions with many constraints and how they can be solved efficiently, i.e. with a low number of function evaluations.  This has a very realistic application background: In automotive industry it is desirable to minimize the weight of a car, but at the same time the car body has to meet all safety requirements. Each car design has to be tested carefully in very time-consuming simulations. This is the reason why only a low number of simulations (= function evaluations) is possible. The car designs are of course company secrets, but an equivalent benchmark with name MOPTA08 was released by the automotive industry and is one of the topics of our research. The figure above from the contribution by Patrick Koch shows that it is possible to achieve much better solutions with the help of a repair mechanism developed in MONREP. More details can be read in the preprint of the CI-workshop contribution.

MONREP was initiated by Prof. Thomas Bäck (divis GmbH) and Prof. Wolfgang Konen (Cologne University of Applied Sciences) and has a duration of 2 years (2014-2015). Dr. Patrick Koch works for MONREP as a senior researcher.

More details on MONREP in Pressemitteilung MONREP (PDF) (sorry, in German only!)

Mr. Markus Thill has won the first price in the 2012 OPITZ CONSULTING “Innovation in Informatics” contest. Many congratulations from the CIOP team!!


Mr. Thill’s thesis advanced the state of the art in reinforcement learning for complex board games, here Connect Four. Read more about his work on this page