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Former researcher of CEGI was elected with the best doctoral dissertation in Europe

Margarida Carvalho, former researcher of CEGI, is the first Portuguese woman to be awarded the EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award, a distinction that recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertations in the operational research (OR) field.

08th August 2018

The award assesses the uniqueness and novelty of the thesis, the relevance for the OR field, the range and depth of the results, the inputs in the research areas and the quality of the corresponding publications.

The thesis written by Margarida Carvalho and supervised by João Pedro Pedroso and Andrea Lodi, under the scope of the PhD in Computer Science from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP), entitled “Computation of equilibria on integer programming games” and involves two scientific areas: combinatorial optimisation and game theory.

This thesis develops mathematical results that show how theory can be useful in practice. The conclusions presented in the thesis have a practical potential in the field of health, with applications in kidney transplant cases.

Margarida Carvalho

"A game to model kidney exchange programmes involving hospitals of several countries was formulated for the first time in this thesis. What we were able to conclude was that the game has good characteristics in terms of the social welfare. This means that when entities behave in a more rational way, that is, by concentrating only on their individual benefit, the number of patients with renal failure receiving a transplant is maximised", explains Margarida Carvalho, who is now a professor at the University of Montreal. 

But there are other applications for the developed models. The most important advantage of the model proposed by the Portuguese researcher is the combination of an area that allows to increase a company's optimisation coefficient, just like the combinatorial optimisation, but at the same time to be able to predict competitors’ answers, like the game theory.

"Optimisation models are used nowadays in many applications, such as in the production planning of a company. The evolution that has occurred in the area of optimisation allows companies to apply these models to be very successful. The most common models, however, don’t consider some important factors, as is the case of the mutual influence that the decisions of several companies have in a market. The science that allows us to predict these behaviours is called game theory. Margarida proposes mathematical formulations for concrete problems and also algorithms that can be applied more generally in the solution of games that involve integer programming, the so-called integer programming games as it appears in the thesis title", explains the supervisor João Pedro Pedroso, researcher of CEGI and Professor at FCUP.

The “EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award” (EDDA) was introduced in 2003 and recognises the contributions of PhD students or scientists having less than two years experience since completing a PhD in the operational research field.

 

The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FCUP.