Ecole Polytechnique: Combinatorial optimisation work awarded the Vicent Caselles prize

Mercedes Pelegrín García, a young researcher at the École Polytechnique’s Computer Science Laboratory in the framework of the “Integrated Urban Mobility” Chair, has been awarded the Vicent Caselles Prize. The prize is granted by the BBVA Foundation and the Spanish Royal Society of Mathematics for her research into combinatorial optimisation.

Combinatorial optimisation is used to decide where to place facilities such as vehicle charging points in a city. “Combinatorial optimisation problems involve trying to find the best solution from a set of solutions defined by a series of conditions. In the context of my research, the aim is to optimise the traffic of air taxis to maximize efficiency while ensuring safety. Several objectives are to be considered, including the optimal placement of stations, journey times, and social acceptability. This optimisation is carried out by means of modelling techniques and algorithms that I develop” explains Mercedes Pelegrín García, a young researcher at the École Polytechnique’s Computer Science Laboratory (LIX*) as part of the “Integrated Urban Mobility” Chair. These techniques have a multitude of applications: creating models to organise kidney transplants, finding the most influential groups in a social network or deciding where to find the most representative points on a map.

The young researcher’s research work has previously been rewarded by two learned societies, and she is now receiving the Vicent Caselles prize from the BBVA Foundation and the Spanish Royal Society of Mathematics. The prize, named after the internationally renowned Spanish mathematician of the same name, is awarded to young researchers in mathematics. Mercedes is one of the winners of the sixth edition of this prize for the creativity and excellence of her research.

*LIX: a joint research unit of CNRS, École Polytechnique – Institut Polytechnique de Paris

>> about the Chair:
Combining innovation, ecology and urban planning, the Integrated Urban Mobility Chair, founded in 2019 and headed by Claudia D’Ambrosio, studies the socio-economic aspects of urban air mobility, including the integration of electric vertical take-off and landing (ADAV) aircraft into public transport. With the support of Uber, the Chair is looking at this integration in terms of optimisation (trajectories, air traffic control) and social acceptability (noise and visual disturbance). These simulations are then tested in 3D virtual reality. In this way, algorithms and applied mathematics are used today to build the transport network of tomorrow.

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