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Research activity

Research performed at laboratory is mainly concerned with a class of integer and mixed integer programming problems pertaining to analysis, design, optimization and decision support of complex systems and processes. The fields of applications range from intracellular processes, through industrial manufacturing systems, to supply chains. The P-graph framework provides the theoretical background for conceptual process design, as well as, the S-graph framework for batch process scheduling. Both methods are related to the name of professor Ferenc Friedler founded of the laboratory. The above-mentioned frameworks provide computer aid to the whole creative process from problem formulation, through modeling and model analysis, to practical interpretation of the best solutions in a way mathematically proven to be valid. Software developed by the laboratory both guarantee the generation of the best solutions for practical problems and are competitive in computational time as well.

Research results

From a practical point of view, the results of the System and Process Optimization Research Laboratory are applicable to algorithmic analysis and optimization of industrial and business processes. P-graph methodology developed for process design and optimization, and the S-graph methodology for scheduling and resource allocation were born in the laboratory. The procedures emerged during the development of the methodologies, have been implemented in all cases and tested on real industrial tasks. Compared to the latest state-of-the-art literature, often better solutions, more efficient algorithms, and such problem-solving methods have been suggested, that cannot be substituted by other approaches. Several times corrections of wrong results of others have been published together with the procedure guaranteeing the right solution.

Research Areas

  • Process Network Synthesis (PNS) 1991-
  • Separation Network Synthesis (SNS) 1993-
  • Waste Treatment 1994-
  • Structural Controllability 1995-
  • Reaction Pathway Identifiction (RPI) 1997-
  • Scheduling 1999-
  • Process Network Synthesis with Heat Integration (PNS+HENS) 1999-
  • Azeotropic Distillation (AD) 2000-
  • Structural Startability 2003-
  • Synthesis of Reliability Process Networks 2008-
  • Process Network Synthesis with Time Constraints (TCPNS) 2010-

Most Relevant Publications

  • Friedler, F., K. Tarjan, Y. W. Huang, and L. T. Fan, Combinatorial Algorithms for Process Synthesis, Comput. Chem. Engng, 16, S313-320 (1992).
  • Friedler, F., J. B. Varga, and L. T. Fan, Decision-Mapping: A Tool for Consistent and Complete Decisions in Process Synthesis, Chem. Engng Sci., 50, 1755-1768 (1995).
  • Sanmarti, E., F. Friedler, and L. Puigjaner, Combinatorial Technique for Short Term Scheduling of Multipurpose Batch Plants Based on Schedule-Graph Representation, Comput. Chem. Engng, 22, S847-850 (1998).
  • Kovacs, Z., Z. Ercsey, F. Friedler, and L. T. Fan, Separation-Network Synthesis: Global Optimum through Rigorous Super-Structure, Comput. Chem. Engng, 24, 1881-1900 (2000).
  • Fan, L. T., B. Bertok, and F. Friedler, A Graph-Theoretic Method to Identify Candidate Mechanisms for Deriving the Rate Law of a Catalytic Reaction, Comput. Chem., 26, 265-292 (2002).
  • Romero, J., L. Puigjaner, T. Holczinger, and F. Friedler, Scheduling Intermediate Storage Multipurpose Batch Plants Using the S-Graph, AIChE J., 50(2), 403-417 (2004).
  • Lee, D.-Y., L. T. Fan, S. Park, S. Y. Lee, S. Shafie, B. Bertok, and F. Friedler, Complementary Identification of Multiple Flux Distributions and Multiple Metabolic Pathways, Metab. Eng., 7, 182-200 (2005).
  • Bertok, B., M. Barany, and F. Fridler, Generating and Analyzing Mathematical Programming Models of Conceptual Process Design by P‑graph Software, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 52, 166-171 (2013)
  • Bertok, B., I. Heckl, Process Synthesis by the P-Graph Framework Involving Sustainability, in „Sustainability in the Design, Synthesis and Analysis of Chemical Engineering Processes” by Gerardo Ruiz-Mercado and Heriberto Cabezas (Editors.), 203-225 (2016) ISBN: 978-0-12-802032-6
  • Further papers:

Research and Development Projects

The scientific results of the research team are utilized in a number of industrial research and development projects. These projects are mostly related to the development of smart cities and industrial and logistics decision support systems.

Projects supported by Hungarian and EU funds:

  • Preventive Environmental Protection Approaches in Europe, 1993-95, Technical University of Graz, Austria (PREPARE Program)
  • Theoretical Foundation of Process Synthesis, 1994-95, Research Fund of the Hungarian Ministry of Education
  • Algorithmic Generation of the Mathematical Programming Model for Separation Network Synthesis, 1994-97, Hungarian Research Foundation (OTKA Program)
  • Process Integration with Combined Heat and Power, 1995-96, European Union (PECO Program)
  • Simulation Program for Biotechnology, 1995-96, National Committee for Technological Development, Hungary
  • Process Simulation, 1995-96, Technical University of Graz, Austria
  • Introduction of New Degree Courses on Environmental Oriented Chemical Process Integration, 1995-98, European Union (TEMPUS Program)
  • Participation in Non-Nuclear Energy "JOULED R&D", 1996-97, European Union (PHARE Program)
  • Combinatorial Method for the Synthesis of Industrial Systems, 1996-97, Research Fund of the Hungarian Ministry of Education
  • Energy and Water Use Minimization, 1996-97, National Committee for Technological Development, Hungary
  • Energy Conservation by Combined Heat and Power Systems, 1996-99, Hungarian-British Intergovernmental Cooperation Program
  • Structural Optimization of Energy Generation Systems, 1998-2000, National Committee for Technological Development, Hungary (Joining to a European Union project of the 4th RTD Framework Program on Non-Nuclear Energy)
  • Combinatorial Techniques for the Synthesis of Batch Chemical Processes, 1999-2002, Hungarian Research Foundation (OTKA Program)
  • Integrated Project Management Optimization, 2001-2003 IKTA
  • Knowledge management and transfer in the information society, 2002 KHVM-MEH
  • Online optimization of the asset traffic regarding safety requirements, 2004-2007 NKFP
  • Development of electronic teaching materials for engineering specialization programs, 2005-2006 HEFOP
  • Development of methodology for integrating logical, physical, and human security techniques by the application of intelligent agents, 2005-2008 Jedlik Ányos Program
  • Synthesis of biochemical reaction pathways and development of solution methods for analogous problems, 2006-2008 OTKA (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund)
  • Information Security R&D Center (IBKFK), 2006-2009 RET (Regional University Knowledge Center)
  • Minimoney micropayment system, 2007-2009 Jedlik Ányos Program
  • Models and algorithms for solving combinatorial problems in IT, 2010-2013 OTKA (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund)
  • Development of browser, search engine, and IT support for joint utilization of touristic programs and attractions close to each other in location and time, 2012-2013 GOP
    Development of new type of bank “early warning” system, 2012-2014 GOP
  • Design of further development and optimization of energy generation and utilization systems by infocommunication technologies, 2012-2015 TÁMOP-4.2.2.A
  • National research center for development and market introduction of advanced infocommunication technologies, 2013-2015 TÁMOP-4.2.2.C
  • Development of decision support system for the cost and energy efficient management of electronics assembly plants based on state-of-the-art engineering, IT, and modeling solutions, 2015-2017 VKSZ

Smart city solutions:

  • St. Margarethen – Analysis of return of investment for regional energy supply system, 2005
  • Graz - RegiOpt Development of web application for supporting optimal regional energy management, 2009
  • Freistadt – Impact analysis of integration of brewery and district heat network, 2010
  • Margaret Bridge reconstruction – Optimization of human resource allocation, 2010
  • Veszprém – Complaint management system: Electronic workflow support and resource optimization, 2015
  • Békéscsaba – EMAX: Development of a personalized touristic program navigator mobile application 2014

Industrial and logistic decision support systems:

  • Nitrokémia - Minimizing the water and energy consumption of a nitrocellulose plant using a combinatorial method, 1997
  • Nitrokémia - Structural optimization of industrial heat and power generation systems, 1998
  • Balatontourist – BPM-based Robust E-Business Application Development, 2001
  • Telenor – Development of cloud-based asset tracking system, 2007
  • Pannon Lapok Társasága – Newspaper delivery roundtrip optimization, 2007
  • MOL – ProdSim: Development of a pipeline and tank farm simulation system 2007-
  • Bakonyi Erőmű – Fuel supply optimization framework, 2008
  • IBM DSS – Optimal test sequence generation for computer assembly, 2008
  • 5 Stars – Vehicle assignment optimization, 2009
  • BKV – Bus maintenance optimization, 2009
  • Flextronics – Production scheduling, 2011

Head of the research laboratory

Diploma (M. S. equivalent), University of Veszprem, Veszprem, Hungary (Information Technology), 1999; PhD, University of Veszprem (Information Technology), 2004; Fellowship granted by the Hungarian Republic, 1998/99; Pro Scientiis Informaticae, University of Pannonia, 2008; Pro Universitate Pannonica Small Silver Level, University of Pannonia, 2008; “IT lecturer of the year” awarded by the Hungarian CIO Association, 2010; Méray László Prize, University of Pannonia, 2012; Master Teacher Gold Medal awarded by the Hungarian National Scientific Students' Associations, 2013; Polinszky Prize, awarded by Municipality of Veszprém City with County Rights, 2014.

Botond Bertók joined the research laboratory in 1997 as a student in IT at the University of Veszprém Later he was member of the research team as a PhD student supervised by professor Ferenc Friedler, and then as a university lecturer. As a decisive element of his professional career, professor L. T. Fan invited him to the United States in 1999 with a research grant, after which he published numerous joint publications with the researchers at the Kansas State University under the guidance of professor L. T. Fan. During his research, he focuses mainly on the extensions of the P-graph methodology that expand the range of industrial and logistic applications of the methodology and support its efficient IT implementations. For example, the introduction of a time constrained process synthesis (TCPNS) made P-graph suitable for integrated process-network synthesis and scheduling.

Further information: