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The CHORDS (Computational Heuristics, Operational Research and Decision Support) research group was formed in December 2011. Its core research mission is to explore and develop computational search methodologies and models that emerge from studying the complexity and uncertainty of real world scheduling, optimisation and decision support problems. Its research agenda lies at the inter-disciplinary interface of Operational Research and Computer Science and it draws upon core application areas in search based software engineering, timetabling, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and others. 

Key strategic goals include:

  • Automating the heuristic design process: This work is motivated by the goal of underpinning the development of computational methodologies that can automatically build decision support systems. We aim to investigate the extent to which we can replace human decision making in the heuristic design process.  A particular focus is upon investigating transformational hyper-heuristic techniques to explore the extent to which we can automate the software engineering process.


  • Closing the gap between industrial/real world practice and scientific decision support research: We aim to explore dynamic and complex computational modelling and search techniques within the context of  a broad range of real world problems across industry, commerce and the public sector. We aim to establish new computational modelling approaches and automated search methodologies that push the boundaries of the capability of decision support systems and the levels of complexity that they are able to handle. Moreover, we have the objective of developing a deeper theoretical understanding of complex real world problem solving scenarios in order to inform more effective practical decision support system development.

Tutorial on hyper-heuristics at GECCO. John Woodward and Daniel Tauritz

The automatic design of algorithms has been an early aim of both machine learning and AI, but ha[...]

Semi-Automated Algorithm Design with Genetic Programming Jerry Swan and John R. Woodward

Tutorial on Semi-Automated Algorithm Design with Genetic Programming at This tutorial gives a me[...]

Welcome to Simon Martin and Geoff Neumann

We're delighted to welcome Simon Martin and Geoff Neumann to the CHORDS group as RAs on the DAASE pr[...]

CHORDS is expanding...

We are delighted to welcome new members to the CHORDS research group: Dr Jingpeng Li: Reader J[...]