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Discrete Optimization and Logistics




Head: Prof. Dr. Stefan Nickel


Secretary: Marliese Amann

Links: DOL∂IOR


The research group Discrete Optimization and Logistics (DOL) of Prof. Dr. Stefan Nickel focuses on the systematic conception, development and application of mathematical optimization models for practically relevant processes. These processes can be found in different domains such as industrial logistics or health care. Due to the practically oriented process modelling, a high degree of complexity will be encountered. Therefore, a wide range of optimization methods, e.g. combinatorial or stochastic optimization approaches, have to be incorporated into the solution strategies.

Health Care Logistics is the main research topic of the group at KSRI. Hereby, special problems regarding process optimization and in-house logistics in the health care sector are investigated. In order to improve quality, transparency and profitability of in-patient services on a long-term basis processes have to be analyzed and adapted if necessary. Operations Research offers numerous methods that may lead towards significant improvements not only in an industrial environment but also in hospitals, care services, telemedicine services and health care networks. The characteristic of this field of application is that not only profitability but also quality of treatment and patient satisfaction have to be focused on. Medical competence is prior to any other criteria.

Different challenges comprise the planning of operating rooms, patient transportation, staffing, shift/roster design and allocation as well as the planning of layout, rescue service, territories or storekeeping. Some of these planning tasks occur along clinical pathways. These patient-related treatment processes determine the optimal sequence and timing of necessary interventions by hospital staff (doctors, nurses, etc.) from diagnostics to therapy and care. Logistical issues such as process durations, responsibilities, dependencies in between process steps or resource requirements should be integrated in clinical pathways.