The CWI Best Thesis in Applied Math Award

The Innovation Committee awards the annual CWI Best Thesis in Applied Math Award for BSc and MSc theses that use mathematics to find innovative solutions for companies, government agencies or non-educational institutes. With this award, the Innovation Committee draws attention to the value of mathematics for society.

The 2023 edition is sponsored by the Research Institute for Mathematics & Computer Science in the Netherlands (CWI) and by Chipsoft, a company that develops software for healthcare.

The CWI Best Thesis in Applied Math Award 2023 goes to Rosa de Haan and Pieter Knops

5 december 2023

The finale for the Best Thesis in Applied Math Award took place during the Math4NL Community Event in Leiden. The three finalists in both the MSc category and the BSc category presented their thesis in a brief pitch of only a few minutes.

Rosa de Haan from NHL Stenden Hogeschool Leeuwarden was the winner In the BSc category. For Van Wijnen Components she developed an algorithm that determines feasible combinations of configuration options for apartments. The jury praised the clarity of the presentation, discussing complex math in an accessible way. The jury consisted of Bram van Den Broek and Henri van der Heiden, both from Fontys Hogeschool, and Klaas-Jan Wieringa from NHL Stenden Hogeschool.

The other two finalists in the BSc category were Carloz Cruz from Inholland Hogeschool Diemen, who studied crisis prediction in patients with Sickle Cell Disease for UMC Utrecht, and Marieke Bastiaansen from Fontys Hogeschool Eindhoven, who investigated whether gender could be established from electrocardiogram data for the Catharina hospital Eindhoven.

The winner in the MSc category was Pieter Knops. He worked on the forecasting of (the distribution of) consumer energy demand to make better use of batteries. This work was done for Energyworx. The jury selected Pieter because his presentation struck a good balance between what he did and how he did it, with just the right amount of math. The jury for the MSc category consisted of Benjamin Sanderse from CWI, Olga Shevchuk from EY and Mark Roest from VORtech, who is also chairman of the Innovation Committee of the Dutch Platform for Mathematics.

The other two finalists in the MSc category were Gijs Mast  from TU-Delft, who showed impressive results for fast potential future exposure calculations, which he investigated for FFQuant, and Anna Dankers from the University of Twente who studied the effect of scan budgets for the allocation of radiology capacity for UMC Groningen.

As in previous years, the juries had a hard time selecting the winner. Already the preselection to determine the finalists led to a lot of discussion as the overall quality of all submitted theses was high. Selecting the final winners was not much easier as all the pitches were convincing. The 2023 edition of the Best Thesis in Applied Math Award once more highlighted the excellent work that is being done and the mathematical talent that goes around in the Netherlands.

We thank our sponsors CWI and Chipsoft for their support to make this award possible.

Best Thesis in Applied Math Award 2022 goes to Gaby Hageman and Teun Druijf

4 november 2022

The finale for the Best Thesis in Applied Math Award took place during the Math4NL Community Event in Utrecht. The three finalists in both the MSc category and the BSc category presented their thesis in a brief pitch of only a few minutes. A jury, consisting of PWN director Wil Schilders, Behrouz Raftari Tangabi from ING, and Corine Laan from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, made the final decision on the winner in each category.

In the BSc cateogory, the winner was Gaby Hageman. For Erasmus MC, Gaby investigated whether machine learning models could help to better predict whether patients with the Guillain-Barré syndrome are not able to walk independently six months. This thesis was not only selected because the data preparation and model selection were done very thoroughly, but also because Gaby kept the clinical applicability in mind during her research. This results in useful recommendations that are practically applicable.

The other two finalists in the BSc category were Meggie Wijen, who investigated the potential of machine vision to determine a specific characteristic of pork for Vision Partners, and Thomas van Houdt, who developed a planning model for the transport of equipment from each of the locations of Loxam Nederland to their customers and vice versa.

The winner in the MSc category was Teun Druijff. Teun has investigated methods to improve the planning of shunting at the Kijfhoek shunting yard for DB Cargo Nederland. This became an issue now that the operator of the yard has started to provide shunting services to third parties. Teuns work was notable for bridging the gap between practice and mathematics: he nicely translates the shunting operations into a mathematical description and, reversely, gives very practical recommendations for the Kijfhoek shunting yard.

The other two finalists in the MSc category were Shravan Chipli, who developed a method for solving year-round AC power flow simulations for Tennet, and Yanna van der Vlugt, who improved the planning process for patients at Sint Maartenskliniek.

Overall, the quality of the submissions for this award was very high and even selecting the finalists was hard, as was the selection of the winners. This speaks of the very high-quality mathematics research that is done for Dutch companies and institutes.

Best Thesis in Applied Math Award 2021 for Daniel Gomon

2 september 2021

At the first Dutch Mathematics Community Event the Best Thesis in Applied Math Award 2021 was awarded to Daniel Gomon for his thesis “Continuous time control charts: generalizations and an application to the Dutch Arthroplasty Register (LROI)”. Daniels research was aimed at early identification of quality problems in transplantation surgery for the LROI (Landelijke Registratie Orthopedische Implantaten). According to the jury his presentation was clear, also for (relative) layman. The jury especially liked how Daniel showed the pros and cons for each of the methods he had analysed. The Dutch Arthroplasty Register will implement the result of Daniels work, faster detection of problems in the health care around hip prostheses, as soon as possible in order to improve the quality of care.

Maaike Vollebergh and Irene Kuin, the other finalists, also received praise from the jury for their work and presentation. The research of Irene took place in the challenging environment of the judiciary, where mathematics is not commonly used and data availability is limited. She did however develop a method within an Approximate Dynamic Programming framework for the optimal scheduling of law cases. The success of this work is clear as the judiciary is going to fund two PhD-students for follow-up.

Maaike Vollebergh showed with a simple pictogram why the current planning model of the Netherlands Railways doesn’t work optimally. She introduced a new methodology which she tested on the rail network of Noord Holland. The results are promising and the Netherlands Railways already had another master student performing follow-up research.

We congratulate all three finalists for their excellent work and presentation.



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