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WG Optimization and Optimal Control

Administration: Prof. Dr. Christof Büskens

Die AG Optimierung und Optimale Steuerung (2019)
The main focus of the working group for Optimisation and Optimal Control lies in the development of powerful numerical algorithms and their practical application in solving problems from research and industry.
We pursue the goal of transferring state-of-the-art algorithms from mathematical research to application. To this end, we use algorithms of non-linear optimisation as well as data-based methodes of artificial intelligence.

Divided into specialized teams, we focus particularly on the following application areas:
Autonomous Systems and Robotics (Head: Andreas Folkers)
Highly accurate and at the same time efficient real-time control, precise perception of the environment through sensor fusion and intelligent autonomy through modern AI algorithms - these tasks are at the center of current research questions improving autonomous robotic systems. Taking autonomous driving as just one example, we investigate and develop new approaches to solutions for these topics and test them on real prototypes.
Energy and Environment (Head: Dr.-Ing. Francesca Jung, Wiebke Bergmann)
From the improved utilization of renewable energy to the reduction of CO2 and the optimization of existing processes in conventional power plants - in this domain we deal with current and application-oriented research questions from the fields of energy and environment. As diverse as the applications are, as diverse are the approaches to solutions from our mathematical expertise in the areas of parameter identification, data-driven modeling, optimization and optimal control.
Maritim & Logistics (Head: Arne Berger)
Safe and efficient maritime logistics with increasing complexity within global markets is the goal of this domain. Mathematical research from our core areas of optimal control, parametric sensitivity analysis, modelling and parameter identification helps to understand this complexity. As a link between mathematical research and our partners from the Maritime & Logistics domain, we enable innovations and lay the foundation for a modern maritime economy with assistance and automation systems.
Creative Unit (Head: Kai Schäfer)
The exploration of innovative research fields within the area of direct optimization as well as the development of reliable numerical methods are at the core of this domain. Our research interests range from parameter and system identification for dynamical systems over deep learning and artificial neural networks to optimal control and parametric sensitivity analysis.
Aerospace (Head: Dr. Matthias Knauer)
The application of optimisation methods to different aspects of aerospace is the goal of this domain. This includes, for example, trajectory planning for rovers and spacecrafts, determining suitable constellations of satellites and software support for the design of components.
Transfer (Head: Dr.-Ing. Mitja Echim)
Thanks to the portfolio of own software, numerous third-party funded projects could be successfully acquired, especially in cooperation with industrial partners. This has decisively shaped the development and profile of the working group in recent years. A significant contribution to the transfer of knowledge to industry is realized by the newly founded transfer center TOPAS.
Our methods cover typical tasks in an industrial or research project

Numerical Software

The continuous development of the practical optimisation software WORHP is the flagship of the working group. After all, more than 600 scientific and industrial users worldwide rely on software "made in Bremen" to solve their optimisation problems. Overall, we can cover the entire cycle of methods ranging from modelling, simulation, identification, optimisation and optimal control to closed-loop control and other real-time methods. This is aided by our additional powerful numerical solvers for optimal control problems TransWORHP and parametric sensitivity analysis WORHP Zen.


This cycle of methods plays a key role in our lectures and is reflected in numerous bachelor's, master's and doctoral theses. In this way, our students become familiar with numerous questions of application-related industrial topics already at the university.

Public Relations Work

Schüler beim Forschertag Optimierung
At numerous events for the public, the working group provides insight into our mathematical research and its connections to industrial applications, including the university's Open Campus, exhibitions, fairs for pupils, public lectures and guided tours. With the Forschertag Optimierung, a concept was developed especially for graduating school classes to explain how mathematics finds its way into industry and what career opportunities result from it, using hands-on exhibits.