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Areas of Research and Current Projects

Our research focuses on modeling complex (and often stochastic) search and optimization problems in business, and solving them via computational heuristics. A special emphasis is given to distributed problems arising in social multi-agent systems, which cannot be optimized by pure economic price coordination.  Imposing a solution by a central planner will often be rejected by the autonomous agents. We therefore need to design distributed mechanisms providing incentives to participate to the individual agents without deviating too much from a pareto-efficient solution.

We apply these methods to various domains, leading the following complementary areas of research:

  • Computational Intelligence: Further development of natural analogue processes (Simulated Annealing, Genetic Algorithms, connectionist models) for stochastic and dynamic problems and suited parallelization of the methods for use in distributed systems (e.g. Peer-to-Peer-/Multi-Agent Systems).
  • Yield Management and planning of business processes: Dynamic Pricing of (classical and electronic) services and optimization of the thus triggered interplant processes esp. by services with resource complementarities.
  • Multi-Agent Systems: Focus on modeling and optimization of interplant processes. Coordination is understood as game theory „mechanism design“ for several autonomous actors (men and/or software agents).
  • Vehicle Routing considering stochastic travel times depending on day time and weather in order to meet the customer specific time windows.
  • Recommender Systems for reciprocal selection situations of Partner Matching (e.g. for Job-placement-, Dating- or Social-Network platforms).