“One thesis clearly stood out in all aspects” –
Ad Ridder, Chair of the Jury of the Jan Hemelrijk Award – about Fleur Theulen’s MSc thesis.
During the VVSOR Annual Meeting on the 23th March 2023, the Hemelrijk Award for best MSc-thesis and Van Zwet Award for best PhD-thesis have been handed out. This year, in 2023, the winners were Fleur Theulen, MSc. and Collin Drent, PhD., respectively. Below the jury chair shortly describes the aspects at which Fleur’s master thesis won the award this year.
Photo credits: Pieter Kroonenberg & Laura Zwep
by Ad Ridder, Chair of the jury
This year we received six nominations for the Jan Hemelrijk award. All six were high quality theses, and together they form a nice profile of our society by their variety of topics on Statistics, Operations Research and Data Science.
It was going to be difficult choice for the jury. The considered criteria of assessment included
• a critical approach and an original contribution to the subject;
• ability to state and apply theoretical concepts from statistics and/or operations research in an inventive way;
• the practical applicability of the findings and results;
• a clear line of reasoning and communication skills;
• in the thesis the candidate’s own research contribution should be clearly noticeable.
One thesis stood clearly out in all these aspects. The winner of the award this year is Fleur Theulen with her thesis titled “Solving Large Maximum Covering Location Problems with a GRASP Heuristic”, and the subtitle “Case-study for stroke facility allocation in Vietnam”. She wrote the thesis at the Tilburg University and ABW (Analytics for a Better World Institute) under main supervision of Prof. Dr. Goos Kant. The research of the thesis was originated by the World Bank and ABW for improving health care facilities in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam is willing to invest in new small health centers but does not know what will be good locations for these centers. This problem could be represented by a maximum covering problem known in Operations Research. However, the size of the Vietnam case goes beyond existing solution techniques. Fleur adapted and combined several heuristics and made smart programming implementations to get good solutions in short computation times. The resulting algorithm is used nowadays to solve similar problems in other countries.
The VVSOR congratulates Fleur Theulen with winning the 2023 Jan Hemelrijk Award!