The EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award (EDDA) has been awarded since 2003. It is awarded to outstanding dissertations in the field of Operations Research. This year the award goes to Daniel Rehfeldt for his thesis “Faster algorithms for Steiner tree and related problems: From theory to practice”. The prize is traditionally awarded at the Society’s annual European conference, where the four finalists present their work in a special session, this year in Espoo, Finland.
The Steiner tree problem in graphs (SPG) is one of the most studied problems in combinatorial optimization. Many applications can be modeled as SPG or closely related problems. In his work, Daniel introduced many new algorithmic components for solving SPG, such as reduction techniques, cutting planes, graph transformations, and heuristics – for both SPG and 14 related problems. Many of these methods and techniques are shown to be more effective than previous results from the literature. The Steiner tree solver SCIP-Jack (with source code freely available for academic use https://scipjack.zib.de/ ) developed in this work is faster than all other solvers from the literature (including problem-specific ones) in each of the 15 problem classes, often by orders of magnitude. SCIP-Jack is being used in several industrial projects, including the design of highspeed-internet networks in Germany.