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Prof. Thielen and Dr. Boeckmann receive prestigious prize

TUMCS | Press Release | 16.04.2024

The two researchers Prof. Clemens Thielen from the Professorship of Complex Networks at HSWT on the TUM Campus Straubing (TUMCS) and Dr. Jan Boeckmann were awarded the EURO Prize for OR for the Common Good 2024 by the Association of European Operational Research Societies (EURO) at the beginning of July for the research article resulting from their project on municipal flood mitigation.

Two men with award certificates

Dr. Jan Boeckmann and Prof. Clemens Thielen (r.) at the award ceremony. (Foto: Mikal Schlosser,

The two researchers had applied for the prize and were among the three finalists who presented their work at the 33rd European Conference on Operational Research (EURO) in Copenhagen a few weeks ago. Jan Boeckmann, who after completing his doctorate at TUMCS is now working as a post-doc at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, presented the work there. The award has now been presented – a great honor for the two researchers.

The EURO Prize for OR for the Common Good recognizes an outstanding contribution to overcoming global challenges through the application of Operations Research (OR). It also aims to promote the use of OR for the common good and raise awareness of the important role OR can play in addressing global challenges such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The prize is endowed with 3,000 euros.

Prevent serious damage to buildings

Adapting to the consequences of climate change is one of the central challenges faced by humanity in the next decades. One of these consequences are intense heavy rain events, which can cause severe damage to buildings due to flooding. In this paper, we present the first use of optimization techniques that scales well enough to be applicable for supporting decision-making in planning precautionary measures for flash floods caused by heavy rain events in realistic scenarios.

“Our mixed-integer programming model has been implemented as an innovative decision support tool in the form of a web application, which has already been used by more than 30 engineering offices, municipalities, universities, and other institutions”, Prof. Thielen says. The model aims to minimize the damage caused in the case of a heavy rain event by taking best-possible actions subject to a limited budget and constraints on the cooperation of residents. “We further present an efficient, graph-based representation and preprocessing of the surface terrain, a combinatorial algorithm for computing an initial solution of the mixed-integer program, and computational results obtained on real-word data from different municipalities”, Prof. Thielen says.