Prestigious prize awarded at EURO Conference in Poznan.
6 July 2016
Dr Ahmed Kheiri from the OR Group has won a prestigious prize awarded at the EURO Conference in Poznan, Poland, beating off competition from 41 teams across 16 different countries. Ahmed participated in the ROADEF/EURO 2016 challenge (http://challenge.roadef.org/2016/en/index.php). This competition used a real-world problem of inventory routing with a focus on healthcare services delivering large volumes of liquid oxygen to large numbers of hospitals worldwide subject to a variety of constraints being met. A number of problem instances were provided by a large company based in France, Air Liquide (https://www.airliquide.com/).
Having been initially winning against the other 41 teams, his developed method won the final phase against 12 finalists teams, producing the best solutions across all of the released problem instances. The results of the challenge were presented at the EURO conference, attended by more than 2,500 delegates.
The winning approach combined machine learning method of Hidden Markov Models (HMM) and hyper-heuristic technique with the ability to exploit the computing power of multi-core machines. The role of the HMM is to assist the hyper-heuristic in selecting and applying sequences of heuristics.
Speaking after the event, head of the OR group Prof Paul Harper said: "This is a stunning achievement for Ahmed. The ROADEF/EURO challenge is largest of its kind globally in our field."
Dr Kheiri said: "The potential impact of this work is significant and has the possibility to be applied to other real-world applications."