Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research project

ECOLE: Experience-based COmputation: Learning to optimisE

Researchers of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) will develop a training programme the next generation of early stage researchers (ESRs). During a four years project they will be trained to approach industrial challenges in a holistic manner by developing solutions in an automotive industrial setting.

2018 - 2022
Thomas Bäck
Horizon 2020

University of Birmingham
Honda Research Institute Europe
NEC Europe Ltd


LIACS will together with Honda, NEC and the University of Birmingham, thereby supported by BMW, DYNAmore and Tata Steel,  develop a unique doctoral training programme for ESRs based on novel synergies between nature inspired optimisation and machine learning. ECOLE is needed in response to an acute shortage of human experts with sufficient skills in tackling industrial challenges in a holistic manner. A holistic view and approach are needed as the engineering process has profoundly changed in the last ten years. Many tools from computer aided design, computer aided engineering, and enterprise resource management have been integrated into product lifecycle management frameworks used in the automotive industry with the aim to enable a holistic view on the production processes. This will allow for the early embedding of constraints and criteria that occur late in the development chain or even the complete lifecycle of the product.


The training programme will yield a new generation of high achieving, ESRs who will be provided with the transferable skills necessary for thriving careers in emerging and rapidly developing industrial areas. The research aims of ECOLE include shortening the product cycle, reducing the resource consumption during the complete process and creating more balanced and innovative products. Instead of just developing technologies to solve a given optimisation problem, it will take a bold step forward and propose to optimise automatically across problems. Referring to knowledge, skill, and practice derived from problem solving processes in time, the experience of optimising one product or process will be learned and transferred automatically to solve other optimisation problems.


ECOLE will train ESRs with a focus on the automotive industry, but the skill set of our ESRs will be equally valuable to other fast-moving, innovative industries.

This website uses cookies.  More information.