The research activities at DPO mainly focus on quantitative methods for solving and analyzing decision problems in logistics and production. The methodological focus is on the development of high-performance planning approaches based on metaheuristic, exact and hybrid optimization techniques. Applications mainly arise in the fields of transportation, location and territory planning, as well as warehouse and production planning.
Within the above application areas, we focus on the following research questions:
- Utilization of new technologies in production and distribution logistics and development of appropriate planning procedures. An example is the planning of short haul transports using battery-powered electric vehicles and the required recharging infrastructure.
- Solution of large-scale problems: Such problems arise from practical requirements or from the generation of a large number of potential alternatives using big data. In principle, metaheuristic methods are suitable for such large-scale problems. However, to achieve high-quality solutions in short computing time, decomposition techniques, granular search and problem-specific rules for the computation of objective values and constraint violations must be developed.
- Consideration of human factors in planning, especially with regard to the acceptance of computer-generated solutions and the integration of learning processes.
- Integrated location and transport planning: Methods for the solution of so-called location-routing problems, which anticipate the planning of transport routes when planning depot locations.
- Use of machine learning components within heuristic methods.