Saturday, September 10, 2022

Back to work - AIRO Conference in Florence!

Since we are coming back from summer vacation, I have decided to write a post for our Trade-Opt blog, hoping it can record our wonderful time during PhD together. First of all, a warning, this post will neither be about optimization nor machine learning at all. 

In fact it, will be about Italy, where my colleagues are participating in a conference in Florence. Imagine how nice it is in Florence at the end of summer, with good weather, you can have a perfect afternoon at Piazza del Doumo, surrounded by medieval architects. It makes you start to imagine how bustling this place would be in the past. If you want to explore the art of the Renaissance, then Le Gallerie degli Uffizi would be your next stop. 

However, we are following my collegues from the conference. I will limit myself with the talk about painting and architecture. Maybe I will have one in the future about it, as everyone has a unique feeling when it comes to art. So a round of introduction from the team. 

We have Jonathan, who we usually call Jonny in a friendly way. He is the most active one in our group, and often keeps the conversation flowing during discussion or parties. 

Next, we have Emanuale and Enis. Even though they work in different places (one in Germany and the other in Austria), their first publication in PhD is actually their joint work. As you can see in the pictures, these are their works. Good job guys.

There are other Trade-Opt participants as well, unfortunately, I do not have their pictures from the conference. However, if you want to know more about them, visit our introduction post below. They are Mouna, Cheik, Tondji and Cristian, which comprise half of the Trade-Opt network already.

Finally, the main part, which I want to talk about. It is a specialty in Florence and you should try this when visiting the city. It is called Bistecca alla Fiorentina (or you can say Florence's steak), and yes: I am a meat lover.

The differences of this steak compared to the normal one is that it is made from a breed of Chianina cow ( which only grows in the area of Tuscany), and the piece is huge. It is 5-6cm thick and even weighs up to 1.5kg. The steak only grills for a very short time which leaves the inside of the steak quite rare (so it maynot be for everyone if you do not like rare steak). The Fiorentina steak is seasoned simply with salt and pepper to let you taste the flavor of the meat as much as possible. 

As usual, Italians are very strict with their cuisinse so they may get upset if you ask them to change their cooking to suit your taste. Even though I am not with everyone in Florence this time, as a food lover, I would love to know about the unique dish in the region of Italy, that's why this post. But hey, if someone wants to visit the Tuscany region, please invite me with you :) 

Ending’s credit by Cristian during the closing session:

- Hung Tran

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The First Trade-OPT Workshop! - Algorithmic and Continuous Optimization

 The ESRs have finally had an opportunity to meet in person! After so much uncertainty and challenges due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the first TraDE-OPT workshop has finally happened at UCLouvain on 4-8 July. All participants from the network – both students and supervisors – were able to finally shake hands, collaborate, and got to know each other better. The main scientific part consisted of presentations by invited keynote speakers and doctoral students, which presented their most recent work to their peers and to the supervisor panel. But besides the talks, the workshop included an algorithmic bootcamp and activities devoted to job market preparation, both very appreciated by the participants! Keep reading to know more about the program.

Invited keynote speakers:

Radu Ioan Boţ - "Fast methods for linearly constrained convex optimization problems."

Panos Patrinos - "Escaping limit cycles: Global convergence for nonmonotone inclusions and constrained nonconvex-nonconcave minimax problems."

Coralia Cartis - "Evaluation complexity of algorithms for nonconvex optimization."

Benoît Legat - "Low-Rank Univariate Sum-of-Squares Has No Spurious Local Minima."

Nelly Pustelnik - "Deep unfolded proximal algorithms."

Adrien Taylor - "Constructive approaches to optimal first-order methods for convex optimization."

Progress presentations:

All 15 doctoral students (ESRs) from our network participated and gave a progress presentation at the workshop.

Algorithmic bootcamp:
Benoît Legat - "Implementation of a solver in Julia / Introduction to JuMP."

Adrien Taylor and Baptiste Goujaud - "Automated performance estimation of optimization algorithms" (Python / Matlab).

CV writing, hiring processes and job interviews:

Véronique Joubert - "Preparation to the job market": high level presentation, how to talk about yourself, interview simulations.

Nicolas Dardenne - "Boost your CV with your doctoral skills!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

We are TraDE-OPT! The ESRs

Hello everyone!

In this post, we want to show you who are the PhD students, or ESRs, that work in the project:

We will start in the city of love: Paris, in France. First, we have... Mouna Gharbi

Mouna Gharbi represents ESR4, she is currently working in Centre de Vision Numerique (CVN) at CentraleSupelec with professors Jean-Christophe Pesquet and Emilie Chouzenoux. In her free time, Mouna enjoys engaging in artistic pursuits, whether it is painting, playing music, reading books. In fact she would recommend a book she recently read, for Alain de Botton entitled ‘The school of life’. She also enjoys visiting exhibitions and going to natural places like parks. Luckily, she is currently based in one of the most artistic cities in the world: Paris. 

She also sent us some of her paintings!

Also, in Paris,  we have... Gabriele Scrivanti


He is also working with professors Jean-Christophe Pesquet and Emilie Chouzenoux. He is an insatiable consumer of peanut butter and always has a cup of coffee or smoked black tea to make him company. He never gets tired of walking in the mountains or in the forests and has a thing for icy places, cold weather and snow. He is on a general level terrible at arts and crafts, but finds knitting quite relaxing and rewarding and he is currently working on his second sweater.

Now, we move to the beautiful city of Genova, in Italy, where there are 3 ESRs: 

First, we have Cristian Vega.


Here's what he wrote to us:

Ciao a tutti (Hello everyone), my name is Cristian Vega , and I am a math PhD student. My 

Host institution is the University of Genoa. I work jointly with Silvia Villa and Lorenzo 

Rosasco. My interests are playing video games, listening to the radio and Podcasts,  waisting some time on Instagram, and eating. 

I love watching films, news, documentaries,  F1, Soccer and 

Supporting the team Chile. I like to play football and walk, especially if it is with my girlfriend.


Moreover, we have also... Jonathan Chirinos Rodríguez

Jonathan (or Jonny) is from Venezuela, but he moved to the lovely island of Tenerife, Spain, when he was 8 years old. He's doing a joint PhD thesis between Camelot Biomedical Systems and the University of Genova, together with Curzio Basso and Silvia Villa. He likes playing chess, videogames and going out for one (maybe two) beers with friends. He likes (a lot) drinking coffee: exploring its world and the different ways of drinking it; but also cooking, reading novels, and writing: about life, love, the human being,...

Finally in Genova, there is also... Cheik Traoré!

He is working with Silvia Villa on continuous optimization and its interface with machine learning/data science. Overall he is interested in optimization, numerical analysis, machine learning and their applications. When he is no studying, he likes sport, watches a lot of sport events and practises football on a weekly basis with his lab mates. He also loves listening to music, editing videos and admiring nature.

Now, we move to the (quite cold) city of Bucarest. There, we have 2 of our ESRs. First... Flavia Chorobura!

She is working with Professor Ion Necoara. She likes being with her friends and play cards with them (Card games that are famous in her region in Brazil, like “truco” and “pontinho”). She also likes going to the beach (some beaches in Brazil are really beautiful, you should visit them), visiting new places with her friends, listening music, watching series and movies.

Also in Bucharest, we have... Yassine Nabou!

Yassine is also working with Professor Ion Necoara. He likes swimming, traveling, biking, mountain hiking (he has already climbed the second highest mountain in Africa). He doesn’t like loud parties, he is more into spending time alone. To sum up, he is friendly and an easy going person. Jonny has told us that he also likes discussing about football...

Now, we move to the (also quite cold) city of Warsaw, in Poland. There, we have another 2 ESRs: Giovanni Bruccola and Hung Tran.

First, we introduce you.. Hung Tran!

He is a PhD student under the supervision of Prof Ewa Bednarczuk. He usually goes for a walk around the city, exploring all corners of the streets, especially unique places. In his free time, he does cooking, or reading. If you like, he can treat you to some Vietnamese dishes (deliciousness is not guaranteed).

Also, in Warsaw, we have... Giovanni Bruccola!

Here's what he wrote to us:

I'm Giovanni, I like karate, coffee and guess what... maths! I arrived in Warsaw  only two months after the Masters graduation. I would have never expected a city so full of life!

Of course, we also have ESRs in Germany! Specifically in the city of Braunschweig, close to Hannover.

First, there is... Emanuele Naldi!

He is working  under the supervision of professor Dirk Lorenz. The network gives the chance of fruitful collaborations between the members, and this is the case with Emanuele. He had the possibility to collaborate with Enis Chenchene (ESR8) and professor Kristian Bredies, both from the University of Graz. He loves sport, in general. Lately, he enjoys playing basketball or football with friends when there is a chance. He is also a huge fan of strategy board games, whenever the opportunity arises with the right group of friends, it's time to play!

The last one in Germany is... Lionel Tondji!

He is also working with Professor Dirk Lorenz, with the project: new incremental optimization methods for convex problems and tomographic imaging problems.

Close to Germany, in the city of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, there are other 2 ESRs. First of all, we have... Yassine Kamri!

Here's what he wrote to us:

Hi, my name is Yassine, I am from Morocco. I am working with the Professors Glineur and Hendrickx in Belgium at UCLouvain. Besides doing research in applied mathematics, I like to travel and visit historical and cultural places. I’ve already been to several European countries; I am also a sports fan particularly football.

Moreover, there is also Sofiane Tanji!

He is working with Professor François Glineur in Belgium alongside Yassine Kamri. Sofiane, as all of us, is passionate about science and does math on a daily basis in order to improve himself and the field of optimization for data science. But that’s not all ! He is quite the mountain enthusiast as he loves hiking in the Alps whether in summer or winter. If you can’t find him there, he’s probably at home, either reading books and essays (about anthropology, metaphysics and history) or watching football. He also enjoys cooking, especially Asian and North-African dishes!

Also, in the very center of Europe, in the lovely city of Graz, Austria, we have another 2 ESRs: Enis and Rodolfo.

First... Rodolfo Assereto!


He is being supervised by Professor Kristian Bredies at Karl-Franzens University. He likes football and therefore he won’t say no to a match. He also likes skiing, horse-riding and table tennis. He is Italian and one thing he loves about working abroad is exploring new cultures, including meeting people (so he probably won’t say no to a beer either) or learning a new language.

And the last one (but not the least), we have... Enis Chenchene!

Enis grew up in Milan, in northern Italy, but also spent a lot of time in Monastir (Tunisia), where his father comes from. He loves playing basketball, reading and staying up to date with cultural events. He is also one of those Queen's Gambit boomers that started playing chess during the first lock-down and never stopped.

Back to work - AIRO Conference in Florence!

Since we are coming back from summer vacation, I have decided to write a post for our Trade-Opt blog, hoping it can record our wonderful tim...