Key Areas of Research
The Chair of Management Science belongs to the Research Area Operations Research and Management (ORM). Our main interests are Combinatorial Optimization, Robust Optimization, and Game Theory. The problems addressed in these areas are problems that all of us face in our normal daily life. Private individuals, small or big firms, road users, market players - all of us have to repeatedly plan and make decisions:
- What is the fastest and cheapest way to get from A to B, especially if heavy traffic is likely to result in delays?
- What is the fairest and most efficient way to award university places to prospective students?
- How should and in which order should tasks be assigned to employees or machines?
- How much money should be invested in which market, and when?
- Which locations should be selected for building new shops/warehouses/hospitals, etc.?
- How can costs that have been jointly incurred by different municipalities, regions, or individuals be allocated as fairly as possible?
These are some illustrations of the optimization problems confronting us nowadays, on account of burgeoning road networks, communication networks, and social networks, not to mention the Internet! However, we have continuously enhanced software and hardware products at our disposal that help us to solve the complex problems of today’s world. But nevertheless, these aids require sophisticated algorithms to determine which tasks the computer should perform if a problem is to be solved optimally – or as near to optimality as possible.
The design of efficient algorithms for application-motivated optimization problems has, in recent years, attracted the interest of numerous researchers. Such researchers come from a host of different fields of study: Mathematics, Informatics, Engineering and Economics, Biology, Psychology – to name just a few. A steady flow of interaction between theory and practice has led to extremely efficient solution methods being developed and implemented. This process is a symbiosis of theoretical basic research and practical application, which has ultimately resulted in substantial cost savings.
Let us return to the planning and decision making problems that confront us daily: It may sound like there is an algorithm “toolbox” from which we simply select the right one for solving our specific problem, but that is definitely not the case. Each problem has its own peculiarities: frequently there are additional constraints which must be taken into consideration; certain data are not known beforehand; there are further uncertainties and risks that have to be safeguarded against, etc..The types and the amounts of problems are increasing daily. It is a question of skillfully combining the available methods and techniques but also of developing innovative solution methods. The Chair of Management strives to be part of this process by conducting internationally visible and internationally recognized research as well as by introducing our students to the relevant techniques and methods through our teaching activities.