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Full Professor and Chair of Combinatorial Optimization in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His key field of expertise is operations research, especially combinatorial optimization problems and applications thereof. He combines an interest in theoretical results with the desire to affect practice.  

Within his field, Frits is particularly interested in various scheduling, routing, and clustering problemsHe is especially interested in sport scheduling; in addition, he works on other applications of combinatorial optimization such as kidney exchange models, combinatorial auctions, and computational revealed preference.Also, logistic challenges, such as the optimization of inland waterway transport have his interest. These problems are connected to computer science, discrete mathematics, (applied) economics, management science, and indeed, he has great interest in problems that are in the intersection of other scientific disciplines and combinatorial optimization. 

Understanding the precise characteristics of today’s relevant optimization problems, and dealing with the abundant presence of data, are key in developing techniques that can solve tomorrow’s combinatorial optimization problems!

Academic background

Frits Spieksma obtained his MSc in Econometrics from the University of Groningen (1987) and his PhD in Operations Research from Maastricht University (1992). Next, he spent time at the University of British Columbia as a post-doc, and then returned to Maastricht University to become assistent, and later associate professor. In 2000, he was appointed full professor at KU Leuven, before joining TU/e in 2018.

He has supervised more than 15 PhD students, many of whom found their way to academia. He is founder of the EURO Working Group OR in Sports, which aims to bring together quantitative research related to sport. He is also a member of the organizing committee of MathSports International, which brings together mathematics and sports. He has been involved in constructing the playing schedule for the Belgian professional football league.

Currently, Frits is Associate Editor or Editorial Board member of Operations Research Letters, INFORMS Transactions on Education, Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, and 4OR. He has published over a 100 papers in scientific journals and organized several international conferences.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

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