UF Center for Applied Optimization Hosts PanOptiC Workshop


The Center for Applied Optimization (CAO) at the University of Florida recently hosted a two-day workshop titled “A PanOptiC View on Global Optimization” from March 9-10. The purpose of the workshop was to promote collaborations among scholars in global optimization and to honor Panos Pardalos, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the UF Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE). Pardalos retired from UF in 2021 with 30 years of service to the University.

The workshop was held in a hybrid mode with over 60 participants, including two National Academy of Engineering members, who gave keynotes addresses. Dr. John R. Birge, the Hobart W. Williams Distinguished Service Professor of Operations Management at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, gave a talk on “Optimization and Estimation in High Dimensions”. Dr. Nick Sahinidis, the Gary C. Butler Family Chair and Professor at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Tech, spoke on “Global black-box optimization.”

There were 36 invited talks and six poster presentations. Research topics included global optimization theory, algorithms, and applications. Specific application areas ranged from energy, healthcare and telecommunications to medicine and supply chain management.

The workshop included a celebratory banquet recognizing the career of Panos Pardalos. The CAO co-founder, Dr. William Hager, detailed the history of the CAO and Panos’ contribution to the Center. During his tenure, Panos supervised 71 Ph.D. students with over 150 current academic descendants. Hager and Pardalos’ former PhD students presented Pardalos with a UF Gator plaque and a poster of his academic family tree.

Several senior researchers and PhD students observed that the workshop was a great opportunity to hear high-quality optimization talks at a university campus with minimal conference costs.

Dr. Yongpei Guan served as a coordinator of the Scientific and Organizing Committee for the workshop. All committee members committed yeoman’s work to the planning and executing the workshops. Sponsors included Springer publishing, the UF ISE Department and the UF Office of Research, whose financial support was instrumental for the meeting. Dr. Guan said, “This successful event demonstrated great teamwork among our current center co-directors, which opens the door for organizing future, similar events.”

The CAO (Center for Applied Optimization) is an interdisciplinary center that encourages joint research and applied projects among faculty from engineering, mathematics, health, and business. The Center also promotes increased awareness of the rapidly growing field of optimization through publications, conferences, joint research, and student exchange.