University Of Pretoria Computer Science Department

Dr Marde Helbig wins the TW Kambule-NSTF Emerging Researchers Award

Posted by annar on Thu 01 Aug 2019, 15:18:25 Thu 01 Aug 2019, 15:18:25

The NSTF-South32 Awards event is a flagship project of the National Science and Technology Forum, in partnership with global mining company South32. Popularly known as the “Science Oscars” in the science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation community, the awards honour and recognise professional, innovative research that helps to provide solutions to the challenges of South Africa’s socioeconomic growth in a sustainable manner. This year’s theme was ‘Materials for inclusive economic development’, aligned with the UN ‘Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements’.

Dr Helbig, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, won the TW Kambule-NSTF Awards: Emerging Researchers Award. She explained that many optimisation problems in real life have more than one objective, with at least two objectives in conflict with one another, and at least one objective or constraint changing over time. These problems are called dynamic multi-objective optimisation problems (DMOOPs).

This research can be applied to a vast range of areas, such as optimising the treatment of water based on what the water is going to be used for; scheduling of jobs at a production plant; and routing of vehicles. When Dr Helbig started working in this field, very few benchmarks were proposed and no standard set of benchmarks existed. “Benchmarks are artificial problems that test the ability of algorithms to solve optimisation problems with specific characteristics that represent typical real-world problems. In addition, no approach existed to efficiently compare the performance of algorithms when solving DMOOPs,” she said.

Dr Helbig recommended both a benchmark suite and an approach to effectively compare the performance of algorithms solving this type of optimisation problems.

She said, “It is wonderful to receive recognition for all of the hard work over the years. However, without the support of my husband, my mentor (Prof Andries Engelbrecht), the Computational Intelligence Research Group (CIRG), my students, friends and family, this would not have been possible.”

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