Systems Engineering and Operational Research (SEOR)


The Systems Engineering and Operational Research (SEOR) R&D group mainly actuates in the Operational Research domains, by addressing complex engineering systems. The mission of the SEOR group is to promote, develop and disseminate quality research in the following main areas:

  • Linear and Integer Programming;
  • Nonlinear Optimization (Continuous and Mixed- Integer);
  • Multi-objective Optimization;
  • Mathematical Modeling of Dynamic Systems;
  • Applied Statistics.

These areas are highly complementary and interdisciplinary, stimulating cooperation between members. SEOR group fosters excellence in fundamental and applied research. In fundamental research, SEOR group aimed to provide new and competitive exact and heuristic algorithms for optimization. Applied research is developed in collaboration with researchers from other R&D centers. SEOR members work with multidisciplinary teams in the areas of environmental systems, manufacture systems, and health science, due to the expertise in the areas of mathematical modelling and optimization systems.

The research on integer programming covers cutting and packing, production planning and scheduling, and network design aiming to solve large and complex optimization problems in different application areas, such as industry and health. In addition, hybrid methods combining linear and integer programming with metaheuristics for specific problems have been applied into kidney exchange programs.

The second area covers the development, implementation and testing of stochastic and deterministic methods for global optimization (GO) problems, for non-convex mixed-integer problems, for bi-level programming in derivative-free (D-F) optimization. Theoretical convergence analysis of the algorithms has contributed to the validation of the proposed methodologies.

In the third area, new evolutionary algorithms and algorithm performance metrics for multi-objective programming, as well as new derivative-free methods for continuous multi-objective optimization have been addressed.

The research based on optimal control of dynamic systems, such that those emerging from epidemiological and tumor growth models, made use of multi-objective optimization and has resorted to derivative-free methods and evolutionary algorithms. Research on mathematical programming with complementarity constraints provided the development of new solution strategies.

The focus of the fifth area mainly comprises data collection, analysis and application of statistical models for decision making, as well as the development of statistical methods and easy-to-use tools for application in bioinformatics, medicine, industry, art, education and specific areas of human engineering (ergonomics, safety, and occupational risks).

It is highlighted the development of publicly available software to be used by the research community: the PSwarm (pattern particle swarm algorithm) for global optimization at, the SearchCol++ for column generation based methods and hybridizations with metaheuristics at and a statistical package for comparison of ROC curves, Comp2ROC, at

Impact of SEOR research

During 2013-2017, the SEOR group published about 320 indexed articles (ISI or Scopus), achieving a ratio of 6.3 publications per integrated researcher per year. It is emphasized that 50% of them are articles published in international journals with high impact factors (ISI JCR and SCImago SJR). From the remaining, 30% are published as book-chapters.

Beyond the publication ratio, the impact of SEOR research can be assessed by the large number of papers with citations and consequently by the h-index author-level metric of the members. The level of citation further confirms the excellence of the research conducted by the SEOR researchers and the impact produced in the research community where the SEOR researchers work.

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Three major contributions

1) Internationalization activities

The SEOR research members were involved in the membership of scientific associations, scientific work dissemination and internationalization activities, mainly the organization of international scientific events, participation in scientific committees in conferences, and editorship of special issues of high quality journals:

– Involvement (e.g., as board members) with the Portuguese Association of Operational Research (APDIO), the IEEE Affinity Group: Women in Engineering – Portugal and the European University Information Systems (EUNIS) E-Learning Task Force;

– Chair-organization of several prestigious conferences: XIII Global Optimization Workshop, 11st International Workshop on Cutting, Packing and Related Topics; Optimization 2014; 14th International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications – ICCSA; 6ª Escola Luso-Brasileira de Computação Evolutiva – ELBCE; International Conference Controlo 2016; 8th International Conference on Evolutionary Multi-Criterion Optimization – EMO 2015;

– Editorial support: co-Editors of Special Issues of the journals International Transactions in Operational Research (IF 1.745, Q1) and Journal of Global Optimization (IF 1.733, Q1), and an Associated Editor of Pesquisa Operacional (Q2), a publication of Sociedade Brasileira de Pesquisa Operacional.

– Academic prizes:

1. Best Paper Awards in the context of international conferences: International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (ICIEOM 2014), IEEE International Conference on Autonomous Robot Systems and Competitions (ICARSC 2014), 15th International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications (ICCSA 2015);

2. Best Work & Oral Presentation Award (EstudIO Special Session) at XVIII Congresso da Associação Portuguesa de Investigação Operacional 2017;

3. “Prix Lauréat du GIRSO” for the great quality of the presentation work at 57ème Congrès du GIRSO (2013);

4. Prémio Isabel Themido for the best article published in international journals by members of APDIO in 2013 (ex-aequo), 2015 (honorable mention) and 2017 (ex-aequo).

SEOR research members are often invited to act as referees in several renowned international journals.

2) Funded R&D projects

Captured a total amount of non-FCT research funds of 19 KEUR per integrated researcher and year.
The SEOR R&D group is committed with international research projects such as H2020 project EQUAL-IST: Gender Equality Plans for Information Sciences and Technology Research Institutions (; H2020 project NEWEX – Project ID 734205: Investigation and development of a new generation of machines for the processing of composite and nanocomposites materials (; FIBR3D: Additive manufacturing based hybrid processes for long or continuous fiber reinforced polimeric matrix composites; mKEP: Models and optimisation algorithms for multi-country kidney exchange programs, IAMAT – Introduction of advanced materials technologies into new product development for the mobility industries (MIT Portugal).

It also includes important projects in collaboration with industry, such as the Bosch Car Multimedia Portugal, with the Project Nr. 002814, iFACTORY: P26 – Multivariate Statistical Process Control in Optical Path of HUFs and 3D Solder Paste Inspection.
Some other research projects, funded by FCT, from SEOR members as Principal Investigators are: SearchCol: Metaheuristic search by column generation, KEP – New models for enhancing the kidney transplantation process and MST4IRTO: New models and solution techniques for integrated and real-time optimization in the supply chains. To end, the SEOR members are also team members in research projects led by other researchers.

3) Doctoral Programs

The SEOR R&D group coordinated or is involved in the:

  • Doctoral Program in Industrial and Systems Engineering (DPISE). A total of 38 PhDs were successfully completed during 2013-2017, 3 of them with international co-supervision.
  • Doctoral Program in Optimization of Industrial Systems and Services (DPOSIS), that is a partnership PhD joining the scientific competencies of statistics and operational research from the University of Lisbon with its strand in production engineering and systems from the University of Minho.

Main Publications in 2013-2017

Nurjanni, K. P., Carvalho, M. S., & Costa, L. (2017). Green supply chain design: A mathematical modeling approach based on a multi-objective optimization model. International Journal of Production Economics, 183:421-432 (ISI JCR Q1 in Eng., Industrial; Scimago SJR Q1 in Industrial and Manufacturing Eng.; 2 Scopus and 6 Google Scholar citations).

Macedo, R., Alves, C., Hanafi, S., Carvalho, J.V. et al. (2015). Skewed general variable neighborhood search for the location routing scheduling problem. Computers & Operations Research, 61:143-152 (ISI JCR Q1 in Operations Research & Management Science; Scimago SJRQ1 in Man. Sc. and Operations Research; 6 Scopus and 15 G.Scholar citations).

SEOR Coordinator:  Ana Maria Alves Coutinho Rocha

Recent SEOR Publications: