ANT/OR (University of Antwerp Operations Research Group) focuses on (applications of) Operations Research. Our main research topic is the development of optimisation methods to solve a wide range of decision-making problems. Generally, research in the ANT/OR group is application-driven in the sense that models and algorithms are developed and studied out of a real-life need rather than because of theoretical interest. In other words, the ANT/OR group focuses on solving real-life planning problems that cannot be adequately tackled using existing algorithms. The group also has considerable expertise in the development of (meta)heuristic and other algorithms and investigates how to design and test such methods in a scientifically valid way.
Members of the ANT/OR group have successfully tackled problems in a wide variety of domains, such as supply chain design, production plant design, logistics and transportation planning, planning of humanitarian operations, the design of statistical experiments, the design of utility networks (water, HVAC, electricity, ...), and many others.
Methodologically, the ANT/OR group focuses on the development of heuristics, i.e., optimization algorithms that do not guarantee to produce the optimal solution. These algorithms tend to be orders of magnitudes faster, easier to develop, and more flexible than their exact counterparts (that do guarantee the optimal solution). For each optimization problem tackled, the algorithms developed and studied within the ANT/OR group rely on the state of the art in metaheuristic design, although exact methods and matheuristics (combinations of exact methods and heuristics) are also used when appropriate.
Research based education
The development of optimization methods for logistics problems is the subject of the course "Optimalisatie in de Logistiek".
The modelling of typical supply chain planning and design problems is treated in the courses “Supply chain management (SCM)” and “Advanced SCM”.
Solving (simple) supply chain models with exact techniques, is a topic of the course “Advanced Supply chain management”.
Learning how solvers are integrated in decision support systems, is a topic of the course “ICT and SCM”.