6th International Conference on Variable Neighborhood Search
This conference (http://vns2018.uom.gr) is an established event attended by Operational Research (O.R.) scientists not only from Europe but usually from all over the world. The general aim of the conference is to provide a stimulating environment in which researchers coming from various scientific fields can share and discuss their knowledge, expertise and ideas related to the Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS) Metaheuristic and its applications. The conference was co-organized by the EURO Working Group on Metaheuristics (EWG EU/ME) and, the Computational Methodologies & Operations Research (CMOR Lab) and the Department of Applied Informatics, School of Information Sciences, of the University of Macedonia. This year, it was held in Porto Carras Meliton Hotel (https://www.portocarras.com/resort/accommodation/meliton-hotel) at Sithonia, Halkidiki, Greece, during October 4-7, 2018. The conference was chaired by Prof. Pierre Hansen (Honorary Chair from GERAD and HEC Montreal, Canada), Prof. Nenad Mladenović, (General Chair from Mathematical Institute, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Serbia), and Prof. Angelo Sifaleras, (Conference Chair from University of Macedonia, Greece).
Around 40 papers were presented in 10 sessions. The meeting was attended by more than 50 participants from 15 different countries (Algeria, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Uruguay, USA). Three plenary talks were given by eminent researchers in the fields of optimization and heuristics. Prof. Panos M. Pardalos opened the conference by addressing new developments with VNS and other heuristics and discussing their power to solve hard problems and new developments for their evaluation. Prof. Abraham Duarte presented an overview of VNS applications for multiobjective optimization problems. Finally, Prof. Daniel Aloise showed how VNS has been successfully used in a wide range of clustering optimization models due to its simplicity and good observed performance.
Apart from the funds provided by the co-organizers, the conference attracted the sponsorship of the well-known multi university research center GERAD from Canada, and the Greek companies DIMOULAS Special Cables S.A., Marathon Data Systems, TZIOLA Publications, and also the historical Museum for the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The abstracts of the presented papers were published in the book of abstracts, while the texts of the accepted full papers will soon appear by Springer as a post-proceedings volume in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science series. In addition, the conference participants were invited to submit their extended papers to one of the two special issues organized by the Journals of Global Optimization and Optimization Letters, published by Springer.
The ICVNS meetings traditional organize social events including welcome cocktails, conference dinners, and excursions. This year the welcome cocktail and the conference dinner took place in the Reflections lounge bar and the Crystals Restaurant of the 5* Porto Carras – Meliton Hotel, respectively. The excursion was concluded with a dinner at the Fish Restaurant Okyalos, in the heart of Neos Marmaras, at the peninsula of Sithonia.
Some conference photos can be found in the conference web site (http://vns2018.uom.gr/photos.html). Next year, O.R. researchers from all over the world are invited to join in the upcoming ICVNS 2019 meeting in Morocco!
Prof. Angelo Sifaleras, ICVNS 2018 Conference Chair
Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, Greece