KU Leuven-Melbourne Joint PhD: Trustworthy and insightful algorithms for industrial decision making

Posted by: Tony Wauters
Contact:[email protected]

The CODeS research group is part of the Department of Computer Science at KU Leuven. The overall research theme of CODeS includes the design, analysis and application of heuristics for combinatorial optimisation problems. CODeS investigates the construction of models, the behaviour and the application of metaheuristics for combinatorial optimisation and has been highly active in these fields for over a decade. CODeS' research lab, located in Gent has a prolific history of collaboration with industrial partners. Note: this project will be partially performed at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Cutting and packing problems are difficult optimization problems frequently occurring within logistics and production. These problems consider the cutting of smaller items from larger items (or packing smaller items within larger items) in one, two or three dimensions. Items can be regular or irregular in shape. Well known examples include the cutting of material (glass,wood, metal, …)  and container/pallet loading. Although considerable research on this type of problems has been performed, the current state-of-the-art is far from optimal and many algorithmic challenges still exist. Especially, more insights on the generaland industrial applicability of the existing algorithms are needed.


This doctoral research project will employ the promising methodology of Instance Space Analysis to cutting and packing problems. It will provide insights in the existing datasets from the literature as well as many real-world datasets obtained from Belgian and Australian companies active in the cutting and packing industry. In addition, this methodology will provide insights in the performance of algorithms on these datasets and will help to further improve them.


Problem modelling and algorithms will be studied at KU Leuven, while for the instance space analysis we rely on the expertise of the University of Melbourne.

  • You have a master's in industrial engineering, engineering technology, engineering or computer science, with a strong interest in combinatorial optimisation. 
  • You are a talented programmer with knowledge of at least one, ideally several, programming languages (e.g. Java, C++, Python). 
  • You can work with precision and are able to report your progress in an accurate and timely fashion.
  • You have excellent communication skills, with fluency in both written and spoken English. Experience working in an English-speaking environment is a plus. 

  • A great work environment surrounded by experts in a variety of combinatorial optimisation domains. 
  • A one-year contract which can be extended.
  • Start a PhD program in the Faculty of Engineering Technology at KU Leuven 
  • Collaborate with talented researchers and professors from the University of Melbourne
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Tony Wauters, tel.: +32 9 310 25 71, mail: [email protected] or Prof. dr. ir. Greet Vanden Berghe, tel.: +32 9 265 87 03, mail: [email protected]
You can apply for this job no later than December 31, 2020 via the online application tool