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FICO Data Scientist Wins Prize for Optimization Research

Timo Berthold, a data scientist working in FICO’s Berlin research center, received the "GOR-Dissertationspreis 2015" prize this week for excellence in Ph.D. dissertations from the German Operations Research Society (GOR), at the society’s meeting in Vienna. GOR’s committee selected Berthold’s dissertation from among 18 worldwide that qualified for the annual award.

Furthermore, Berthold’s dissertation was one of the “final four” in the biannual competition for the EURO Doctoral Dissertation Award (EDDA) 2015 presented by EURO, the European operations research society.

Berthold describes his PhD research as "located at the intersection of operations research, computer science and applied mathematics." He has been working on heuristic algorithms for mixed integer linear and nonlinear programming, and how to integrate them into mathematical optimization software to find provably optimal solutions.

"I work on algorithms that try to rapidly construct a solution for a given system based on mathematical structures, collected statistics or empirical experience," Berthold said. "Such algorithms are used as a kick-starter for optimization procedures." Berthold is one of the principal developers for FICO® Xpress Optimization Suite, the world’s premier mathematical modeling and optimization solution.

Berthold is also involved in an academic cooperation program with Zuse Institute Berlin to work on “Next Generation Analytics,”  as part of the Research Campus MODAL program funded by the German Ministry of Science. This program was an impetus for FICO to open its research center in Berlin last year.

Congratulations to Timo on his award-winning work! You can find his thesis on “Heuristic Algorithms in Global MINLP Solvers” at

The photo at the top of this post shows (from left) Anita Schöbel, chair of the PhD award committee, Timo Berthold, Heide Hoppmann and Gregor Hendel, both winners of the master thesis award, Leena Suhl, president of the GOR, and Peter Letmathe, chair of the Master award committee.

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