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Euro Working Group – Practice of OR Meeting 2020

September 28 @ 1:00 pm - September 29 @ 4:00 pm


Challenges in the deployment of OR projects

(Note that the date has been changed due to COVID-19, will update poster later)

Monday 28 September, 2020 (1:30pm) – Tuesday 29 September, 2020 (4pm)

For this third edition of the EURO Practice of OR working group conference we invite submissions about OR projects that have met with difficulties during their implementation – including particularly tricky or unusual technical requirements that had to be addressed during the development phase or issues related to the use or acceptance by non-OR-expert end-users. Of particular interest are contributions that discuss experiences with the management of change in operations implied by the introduction of an optimization or analytics application in an organisation.

Submission deadline: TBA

Organising committee: Timo Berthold (FICO), Susanne Heipcke (FICO), Thorsten Koch (ZIB), Inci Yüksel-Ergün (ZIB), Andrew Harrison (EWG-POR)

Workshop contact and information: [email protected]

Here are all the keynote speakers with abstracts of the presentations:

  • Optimization in Finance – Practice and Challenges by Adrian Zymolka, Managing Director at Axioma, Germany

The seminal work of Harry Markowitz in the 50’s introduced mathematical optimization to the world of finance, based on quadratic programming which just became practically usable. His ground breaking vision to optimally trade off risk and return however inspired many portfolio managers in their daily work and helped shaping the area known as quantitative finance.

Meanwhile, finance has become a domain of economics, statistics, and optimization.

This talk will (p)review usage of optimization in finance – from past to present, from theory to practice, and from vision to reality – and in some cases also back (into the future).

It will also disclose who really (may have) shrunk the alpha.

  • Delivering OR Solutions for Everyday Operations in Energy Trading by Colin Silvester, Senior Modelling Specialist at Uniper, UK

This talk will share some insights into the challenges faced over many years of implementing OR techniques as part of the daily operations of an energy trading business. The focus is on creating solutions that will be used by non-OR practitioners as part of their normal work within software environments that fit their day-to-day work.

Specialists in a particular business process will often have little appreciation of the capabilities of OR techniques and we will discuss how an OR-specialist can identify where optimisation can make a positive impact in the organisation. The implementation of OR will often need to overcome organisational and personal barriers as there will be a need to positively influence key stakeholders involved in making change happen and to allay fears that automation through optimisation could lead to a degradation of individual roles.

We will go on to describe the technical challenges of delivering a solution that is to be integrated into the daily operations of trading business. This encompasses the integration with other IT systems whilst retaining the ability to support and enhance the core optimisation solution. We will also discuss the needs for operational systems to be reliable and to prevent unhandled infeasibilities leading to process failures. It is also critical that these solutions deliver optimisation performance that is aligned with decision-making timescales and which are appropriate to the accuracy of the model inputs.

We will also look to the future and how containerisation of algorithms and data will allow more flexible development and reuse of optimisation solutions.

  • Successful Value Chain Optimization at a Chemical Company by Steffen Klosterhalfen, Operations Research Expert at BASF SE, Germany

Chemical value chains are characterized by a largely divergent product structure where very few raw materials are converted through various production steps into a multitude of intermediate products which in turn are further processed and refined into hundreds or even thousands of finished products sold in different industries and different regions around the globe. The different target markets are managed by different business units. Hence, several business units participate in one and the same value chain and are responsible for steering their specific part of it. Traditionally, each business unit has planned and operated its value chain part mainly in isolation of the others. Due to the technological advancements in recent years a lot of progress has been made towards a more holistic approach to steering a value chain. In this talk, we illustrate our approach in developing value chain optimization solutions and share our experience and lessons learned.

  • Operations Research supporting Germany’s energy transition by Ralf Werner Head of IT Management (CIO) and Digital transformation (CDO) at Open Grid Europe

The binding climate targets from the Paris Climate Agreement are leading to a profound change in the energy industry. Green hydrogen will play a central role in a decarbonized and secure energy supply. This leads to new challenges for Open Grid Europe, Germany’s largest gas network operator.

Open Grid Europe meets these challenges with innovative products and solutions that are often based on Operations Research. We would like to provide an insight into our innovation process and show challenges and approaches to solutions based on sample projects.

One example is the navigation system for our technical network control. We are on the way to develop a smart, forward-looking, analytics-based decision support system. For this to work, it was necessary to utilize three types of analytics:

    • Descriptive: modeling and simulating the gas flow in the network,
    • Predictive: predicting future gas supply and demand from outside the network,
    • Prescriptive: recommending network control measures to ensure safe and efficient operation of the network.

This system is designed to propose recommendations for the operation of 92 compressor units, almost 300 regulators and more than 3,000 valves to control 12,000 km gas network for delivering about two-thirds of Germany’s natural gas demand.


For further information and registration see the registration site.


September 28 @ 1:00 pm
September 29 @ 4:00 pm


Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik Berlin
Berlin, Germany