Combinatorial Optimization

  • PO Box 513, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

    5600 MB Eindhoven


  • Groene Loper 5, MetaForum

    5612 AP Eindhoven


Organization profile

Introduction / mission

The Combinatorial Optimization group investigates the structure and relationship between different problems, in order to design efficient and effective algorithms for solving them.

Highlighted phrase

Combinatorial Optimization: finding an optimal solution from a finite set of solutions

Organisational profile

Countless practical optimization problems are, in fact, combinatorial optimization problems: they have an optimal solution that needs to be found amongst a finite set of possible solutions. The aim of combinatorial optimization (CO) is to rapidly and efficiently find such an optimal solution.

CO is related to discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, applied mathematics, operations research, algorithm theory and computational complexity theory and has important applications in several fields. These include scheduling, production planning, logistics, network design, communication and routing in networks, health care, artificial intelligence, machine learning, auction theory, and software engineering.

The Combinatorial Optimization (CO) group at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) focuses on the analysis and solution of discrete algorithmic problems that are computationally difficult. The group investigates the structure of such problems, analyzes the relations between different problems, and uses this knowledge to design efficient and effective algorithms for solving them. We study both exact and heuristic algorithms. The Group is also interested in combinatorial optimization problems where the input is revealed only gradually, or where there is uncertainty in the parameters, leading to online, stochastic or robust solution methods.

Combinatorial Optimization develops theoretic results, for instance in graph theory and matroids, and apply these to real-world situations. Typical application areas are scheduling, production planning, logistics, network design, communication and routing in networks, and health care. The Group cooperates with KU Leuven, CWI (National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) and DIAMANT (Discrete, Interactive and Algorithmic Mathematics, Algebra and Number Theory, Dutch mathematics cluster).

Research focuses on:

  • polyhedral techniques
  • local search methods
  • performance guarantee for approximation algorithms
  • online route planning
  • scheduling
  • matroid structure and visualization
  • network problems

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Combinatorial Optimization is active. These topic labels come from the works of this organisation's members. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Matroid Mathematics
Approximation algorithms Engineering & Materials Science
Polynomials Engineering & Materials Science
Graph in graph theory Mathematics
Scheduling Engineering & Materials Science
Coloring Engineering & Materials Science
Approximation Algorithms Mathematics
Exponential time Mathematics

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1988 2020

1 Downloads (Pure)

Asymptotics of symmetry in matroids

Pendavingh, R. & van der Pol, J., 1 Mar 2019, In : Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series B. 135, p. 349-365 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Automorphism Group
2 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)

Building Kidney Exchange Programmes in Europe: an overview of exchange practice and activities

Biro, P., Haase-Kromwijk, B., Andersson, T., Ásgeirsson, E., Baltesová, T., Boletis, I., Bolotinha, C., Bond, G., Böhmig, G., Burnapp, L., Cechlárová, K., Di Caccio, P., Fronek, J., Hadaya, K., Hemke, A., Jacquelinet, C., Johnson, R., Kieszek, R., Kuypers, D., Leisman, R. & 10 others, Macher, M-A., Manlove, D., Menoudakou, G., Salonen, M., Smeulders, B. M. L., Sparacino, V., Spieksma, F. C. R., de la Oliva Valentín Muñoz, M., Wilson, N. & van de Klundert, J., 1 Jul 2019, In : Transplantation. 103, 7, p. 1514-1522 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Living Donors
Practice Guidelines
Tissue Donors
43 Downloads (Pure)

Column generation based heuristic for learning classification trees

Firat, M., Crognier, G., Gabor, A. F., Hurkens, C. A. J. & Zhang, Y., 11 Dec 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Computers & Operations Research. 116, 11 p., 104866.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Classification Tree
Column Generation
Decision trees
Linear programming
Integer Linear Programming


Algorithms for coping with uncertainty and intractability

N. Bansal (Recipient), 2013

Prize: ERCConsolidatorScientific

Combinatorial optimization
Approximation algorithms
Computer science
Optimum design

Faster algorithms in computer science

Jesper Nederlof (Recipient), 2019

Prize: ERCStartingScientific

Computer science
Computational complexity

NWO Vici Award : Continuous Methods in Discrete Optimization

N. Bansal (Recipient), 2018

Prize: NWOViciScientific

Discrete Optimization
Computer Science
Stable Polynomials

Student theses

Algorithms for parallel machine scheduling with a sequence dependent cost function: application in a printed circuit board assembly production environment

Author: Reusken, E., 28 Oct 2019

Supervisor: Buchin, K. A. (Supervisor 1), Spieksma, F. C. (Supervisor 2), Kowalczyk, D. (Supervisor 2), van de Ven, M. (External person) (External coach) & de Wit, L. (External person) (External coach)

Student thesis: Master

Analysis of an algorithm for finding perfect matching in k-regular bipartite graphs

Author: Blom, D. A., 31 Aug 2017

Supervisor: Pendavingh, R. (Supervisor 1)

Student thesis: Bachelor


Automated typesetting: the mathematics of beautiful texts

Author: Roordink, J., 15 Aug 2019

Supervisor: Hurkens, C. (Supervisor 1)

Student thesis: Bachelor