Two research awards for Mercedes Pelegrín García
Operational Research (OR) is the science of decision making, mathematical optimisation and modelling. It focuses on the optimal resolution of decision-making problems and the identification and use of the mathematical properties featured by each case. This is the field of research of Mercedes Pelegrín García, young researcher of the "Integrated Urban Mobility" Chair at the Laboratoire d’informatique (LIX)* under the direction of Claudia D'Ambrosio, holder of the Chair. Her work has been rewarded with a prize from INFORMS and one from EURO, the OR Societies in the US and Europe, respectively.
Mercedes Pelegrin Garcia : in search of optimisation
After an academic career focused on mathematics, computer engineering and operations research at the University of Murcia in Spain, Mercedes obtained her PhD in October 2019. Her study, entitled "Set packing, location and related problems", focuses on the mathematical properties of a particular model called "set packing" in order to generalise them to broaden the spectrum of its possible uses. She has thus been able to push the limits of the model to the point where it can be used, for example, to trace kinship relationships in a population on the basis of genetic traits.
Since 2020, when she joined the Chair, Mercedes' research has focused in particular on the resolution of conflicts in the trajectories of urban public air transport, ranging from the adjustment of their speed and trajectories to the optimisation of their stations’ placement. "It is an exciting and cross-disciplinary project that involves various actors. The research is very applied and futuristic! "says the award-winner.
Her work in OR has attracted the attention of INFORMS, the leading society in Operational Research and Management Science, which awarded her the SOLA Dissertation Award that recognizes biennially an outstanding PhD dissertation related to the field of location analysis. Mercedes also received an award from the EURO WISDOM (Women In Society: Doing Operational Research and Management Science) Forum, which seeks to promote the visibility of cutting-edge research carried out by women in OR.
Modest, the young woman seeks to explain her success: "In my personal life, I have always been self-demanding and I am not satisfied with something if I did not do my best… Maybe that's what attracted me to OR, which is a science of optimisation!". Driven by her thirst for knowledge, Mercedes will be conducting research for another two years on the public transport of tomorrow, from its integration in the city to the control of its safety.
*Laboratoire d’informatique of the École polytechnique (LIX – joint research unit CNRS – École polytechnique)