Leader of the group Networks and Optimization: Guido Schäfer.

In today’s society, complex systems surround us. From transport and traffic, to behavioral economics and operations management, real-world applications often demand that we identify simple, optimal solutions among a huge set of possibilities. Our research group Networks and Optimization (N&O) does fundamental research to tackle such challenging optimization problems. 

We develop algorithmic methods to solve complex optimization problems efficiently. Our research provides efficient algorithms to some of the most challenging problems, for example, in planning, scheduling and routing. To come up with the best optimization algorithms, we combine and extend techniques from different disciplines in mathematics and computer science. 

N&O covers a broad spectrum of optimization aspects. Our expertise ranges from discrete to continuous optimization and applies to centralized and decentralized settings. We focus on both problem-specific methods and universal toolkits to solve different types of optimization problems. The key in our investigations is to understand and exploit combinatorial structures, such as graphs, networks, lattices and matroids. Our research is of high scientific impact and contributes to various fields.

In several cooperations with industry partners, the algorithmic techniques that we develop in our group have proven useful to solve complex real-world problems. We are always interested in new algorithmic challenges arising in real-world applications and are open to new cooperations.


Watch our group video to get a glimpse of our activities.


Video about our collaboration with ProRail (in Dutch)




No vacancies currently.


Current events

2nd POEMA workshop (online)

  • 2020-12-11T09:00:00+01:00
  • 2020-12-11T16:45:00+01:00
December 11 Friday

Start: 2020-12-11 09:00:00+01:00 End: 2020-12-11 16:45:00+01:00

The 2nd POEMA workshop is dedicated to the foundations of polynomial optimization. There will be talks in a broad range of topics by established expert researchers, please view the website for the agenda.
Everyone interested may participate, but please register at the website in order to receive the connection details.

Kick-off: the Dutch Seminar on Optimization (online serie)

  • 2020-12-16T16:00:00+01:00
  • 2020-12-16T17:00:00+01:00
December 16 Wednesday

Start: 2020-12-16 16:00:00+01:00 End: 2020-12-16 17:00:00+01:00

It is our great pleasure to announce the Dutch Seminar on Optimization as a new initiative to bring together researchers from the Netherlands and beyond.
The goal of this initiative is to establish a new forum for the Dutch optimization community to come together, to help provide a spotlight for up and coming local talent, and to bring in high quality international speakers. The topics of the seminar are centered around Optimization in a broad sense, but with a focus on (though not limited to) the theoretical foundations of discrete and continuous optimization.
We would like to invite all researchers, especially also PhD students, who are working on related topics to join the events.

Speaker: Laura Sanita (TU Eindhoven)
Title: On the diameter and the circuit-diameter of polytopes

The diameter of a polytope P is the maximum length of a shortest path between a  pair of vertices of P, when one is allowed to walk on the edges (1-dimensional  faces) of P. Despite decades of studies, it is still not known whether the diameter of a d-dimensional polytope with n facets can be bounded by a polynomial function of n and d. This is a fundamental open question in discrete mathematics, motivated by the (still unknown) existence of a polynomial pivot rule for the Simplex method for solving Linear Programs.
A generalized notion of diameter, recently introduced in the literature, is that of circuit-diameter, defined as the maximum length of a shortest path between two vertices of P, where the path can use all edge directions (called circuits) that can arise by translating some of the facets of P.
In this talk, I will discuss some algorithmic and complexity results related to the diameter and the circuit-diameter of polytopes, highlighting important open questions.



Associated Members


Current projects with external funding

  • Continuous Methods in Discrete Optimization ()
  • Wiskundecluster DIAMANT ()
  • Smart Heuristic Problem Optimization
  • Mixed-Integer Non-Linear Optimisation Applications (MINOA)
  • Optimization for and with Machine Learning (OPTIMAL)
  • Polynomial Optimization, Efficiency through Moments and Algebra (POEMA)
  • Vóórkomen en voorkómen van incidenten op het spoor (PPS Prorail)
  • Towards a Quantitative Theory of Integer Programming (QIP)

Related partners

  • Alma Mater Studiorum-Universita di Bologna
  • Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
  • CNR Pisa
  • CNRS
  • Dassault Systèmes B.V.
  • IBM
  • Prorail
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelmus Universitaet Bonn
  • Technische Universität Dortmund
  • Tilburg University
  • Tromsø, Norway
  • Universita degli Studi di Firenze
  • Universität Konstanz
  • University of Birmingham
  • Universiteit van Tilburg