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Distinguished Lectures

Distinguished Lectures (2017)

We are honored to host the following speakers:

Prof. Dr.  Raymond BISDORFF , Dept of Computer Science, University of Luxembourg.

Algorithmic decision theory for solving complex decision problems

Time and Place: Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 16h00 s.t.; Room (Campus Belval)


 Today's decision makers in fields ranging from engineering to psychology, from medicine to economics and/or homeland security are faced with remarkable new technologies, huge amounts of information to help them in reaching good decisions, and the ability to share information at unprecedented speeds and quantities. These tools and resources should lead to better decisions. Yet, the tools bring with them daunting new problems: the massive amounts of data available are often incomplete, unreliable and/or distributed and there is great uncertainty in them; interoperating/distributed decision makers and decision making devices need to be coordinated; many sources of data need to be fused into a good decision; information sharing under new cooperation/competition arrangements raises security problems. When faced with such issues, there are few highly efficient algorithms available to support decision makers.

The objective of Algorithmic Decision Theory (ADT) is to improve the ability of decision makers to perform well when facing these new challenges and problems through the use of methods from theoretical computer science, in particular algorithmic methods. The primary goal of ADT is hence to explore and develop algorithmic approaches for solving decision problems arising in a variety of applications areas. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  •  Computational tractability/intractability of social consensus and multiple criteria compromise functions;
  • Improvement of decision support and recommender systems;
  • Development of automatic decision devices including on-line decision procedures;
  • Robust decision making;
  • Learning for multi-agent systems and other on-line decision devices.

This presentation will focus more specifically on multiple criteria decision aiding methodology, the actual research field of the author.


Raymond Bisdorff holds an LBA Degree in Business Administration from the University of Liège, Belgium (1975), a MScBA (NATO Graduate Degree Apprenticeship in Systems Sciences grant, 1975-1978) and a PhD in Operations Research (OR), supervisor Prof. B. Roy, from the University Paris-Dauphine (1981). He holds, furthermore, a PhD in Management Sciences from the University of Liège, Belgium (2002). He is since 2003 full professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg, where he teaches courses on algorithmic decision theory, multiple criteria decision aiding, computational statistics and discrete mathematics.
He served the international OR community as president of ORBEL - the Belgian OR society (2008-2010), vice-president of EURO - the Association of European OR Societies (1997-2000) and vice-president of IFORS -the International Federation of OR Societies (2005-2007). He was an honourable collaborator of the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Liège (1996-2005), and of the Polytechnical Faculty of Mons (2010-2017). In 2004, he received an honour diploma from HELLORS -the Hellenic Operational Research Society- for chairing the international Programme Committee of the XXth EURO'2004 Conference, Island of Rhodes. His main research interest is focused on outranking based decision aiding algorithms for selecting, ranking, sorting or rating, and clustering with multiple incommensurable performance criteria of uncertain significance and/or missing data ( see http://sma.uni.lu/bisdorff/research.html ). His major articles appeared in EJOR, Computers & OR, 4OR and in JMCDA ( see http://sma.uni.lu/bisdorff/publications.html).



 CHRISTOPH BENZMüLLER, PD, Dr. habil, Dept of Mathematics and Computer Science, FU Berlin, Germany

Computational Metaphysics: The Virtues of Formal Computer Proofs Beyond Maths

Time and Place: Monday, 27 March 2017, 16h00 s.t.; Maison du Savoir, Room 04-4.020, Campus Belval


Formal computer proofs - irrespective of being developed interactively with modern proof assistants, fully automatically by automated theorem provers, or in a combination of both - are still rather unpopular amongst many mathematicians. Benzmüller will challenge this stance and point to recent success stories of computer-assisted proofs in maths and beyond. In particular, he will demonstrate how the rigorous assessment of rational arguments in philosophy can be fruitfully supported by modern theorem proving technology. A prominent example includes the “Ontological Argument for the Existence of God“ for which even relevant new insights were recently revealed by automated theorem provers. The latter research activities have inspired the conception of a new, awarded lecture course on “Computational Metaphysics“ at Freie Universität Berlin which brings together students from computer science, maths and philosophy.


Christoph Benzmüller is affiliated as Privatdozent for Computer Science and Mathematics with Freie Universität Berlin and Saarland University, Saarbrücken. Currently, he is visiting University of Luxemburg. Previous research stations of Christoph include Stanford University, USA (visiting scholar), Articulate Software, USA (senior researcher), Intl. University of Germany, Bruchsal (full professor), University of Cambridge, UK (senior researcher), Saarland University (associate professor), University of Birmingham, UK and the University of Edinburgh, UK (postdoc). Christoph received his PhD (1999) and his Habilitation (2007) in computer science from Saarland University. His PhD was partly conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, USA. In 2012, Christoph had been awarded with a Heisenberg Research Fellowship of the German National Research Foundation (DFG). Christoph is an expert in higher-order automated and interactive theorem proving, which he utilises as a basis for an approach towards universal logic reasoning. His broader interests concern all aspects of knowledge representation and reasoning. Moreover, Christoph is well known for his interdisciplinary applications. Most recently, for example, he has pioneered, together with colleagues, the area of computational metaphysics. Christoph is trustee and vice-president of CADE (Conference on Automated Deduction), board member of AAR (Association of Automated Reasoning) and spokesman of the section Deduction Systems of the Gesellschaft für Informatik. He serves in various further functions (chair, editorial board, steering committee, trustee, etc.) for various conferences and organisations.


 MADY DELVAUX-STEHRES, European Parliament

Civil Law Rules on Robotics

Time and Place: Monday, 20 March 2017, 10h00 s.t.; Campus Belval, Maison du Savoir, Room MSA-E04-4.020


Social assistive robots, cyber-physical systems in Industry or Artificial Intelligence (AI) are no longer a concepts in science fiction. We are living through a new Industrial Revolution and it is changing our society. In this context the new agents surpass current laws and now it is necessary to adapt civil rules and to create robot regulations to face the new scenario.


Mady Delvaux-Stehres est députée européenne luxembourgeoise depuis mai 2014. Membre du Groupe des Socialistes & Démocrates au Parlement européen, elle est élue Vice-présidente de la commission des affaires juridiques et suppléante de la commission des affaires économiques et monétaires. Elle fait également partie du comité consultatif sur le code de conduite des députés européens. Entre 1989 et 2014, Mady occupe plusieurs postes ministérielles. Entre 2004 et 2014, elle est Ministre de l’Éducation nationale et de la Formation professionnelle. En tant que Ministre de la Sécurité sociale, des Transports et des Communications de 1994 à 1999, elle s’occupe entre autres de la mise en place de la nouvelle assurance dépendance, de la réorganisation des chemins de fer d’après les directives européennes et de la libéralisation des services téléphoniques. Nommée en 1989 secrétaire d’État à la Santé, à la Sécurité sociale, à la Jeunesse et à l’Éducation physique et aux Sports, elle y engage notamment la réforme de l’assurance maladie. De 1999 à 2004, Mady est membre de la Chambre des députés. En octobre 1987, elle est élue pour la première fois conseillère communale de la Ville de Luxembourg, mandat que les électeurs lui confient à nouveau en 1999. Pendant toutes ces années, Mady est active au sein des Femmes socialistes. Après ses études de lettres classiques à la Sorbonne, Mady est professeur au Lycée Michel Rodange à Luxembourg-Ville jusqu’en 1989, lorsqu’elle est nommée au gouvernement. Mady est née le 11 octobre 1950 à Luxembourg-Ville.


 James Cochran, Professor of Statistics, Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama, USA

The importance of Collective Science

Time and Place: Monday, 30 January 2017, 15h00 s.t.; Room E.112 (Campus Kirchberg)


The scientific method, which is embodied by statistical inference, is the heart of who we are and what we do as an academic community (which is why some, including me, argue that statistics is the purest of the sciences). Unfortunately, although we may individually think and act scientifically, collectively we often fail to do so. This has led in numerous instances to nonscientific collective behavior. In addition to dramatically retarding the progress of science, this collective behavior has led to misunderstanding of science by the non-scientific community, co-opting of science by the business community, and poor decision making by policy makers those who have relied on the results of our research efforts. In this talk I will address the lack of collective scientific behavior in research on the relative age effect and the ramifications that have resulted. Specifically, I will discuss the i) lack of appreciation for results that are not statistically significant, ii) disregard for conditions that are necessary for establishing a relationship between an antecedent event and a consequent event, and iii) failure to consider, establish, and test appropriate null and alternative hypotheses. I will also present what I believe are appropriate corrective measures.


James J. Cochran is Professor of Statistics, Rogers-Spivey Faculty Fellow, and Head of the Department of Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science at The University of Alabama. He earned a PhD in Statistics from the University of Cincinnati in 1997, and he has been a Visiting Scholar with Stanford University, the University of South Africa, the Universidad de Talca, and Pôle Universitaire Léonard De Vinci. Professor Cochran was a founding co-chair of Statistics Without Borders and a member of the founding committee for INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics initiative. He established INFORMS’ Teaching Effectiveness Colloquium series and annual case competition. In 2005 Professor Cochran established the International Education Workshop series; through this series colloquia have been held in Uruguay, South Africa, Colombia, Tanzania, Argentina, Kenya, India, Fiji, Croatia, Nepal, Cuba, and Mongolia (with plans for upcoming colloquia in Moldova, Madagascar, and Romania). In 2008 he organized the 2008 ORPA Conference on Using Operations Research to Address Urban Transport and Water Resource Management Issues in Africa. Professor Cochran is founding Editor-in-Chief of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and the Management Sciences and the Wiley Series in Operations Research and Management Science as well as the forthcoming Guide to the Analytics Body of Knowledge. He has published over forty research articles and a dozen book chapters, and he is coauthor of seven textbooks in statistics, operations research, and analytics. He has served as a consultant to a wide variety of corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations around the world. He served as Editor-in-Chief of INFORMS Transactions on Education and serves on the boards of several journals. In 2006 Professor Cochran was elected to the International Statistics Institute, in 2008 he received the INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice, in 2010 he received the Mu Sigma Rho Statistical Education Award, and in 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. In 2014 he became the 86th recipient of the American Statistical Association’s Founders Award, and in 2015 he received the Karl E. Peace Award for outstanding statistical contributions for the betterment of society.