6. November 2023 | Press releases:

Heinrich Büssing Prize for solving hard problems Computer scientist Dr Phillip Keldenich awarded 10,000 euro prize

“Ideally, special results come from a combination of particularly talented people who are prepared to make a special effort and are also given special opportunities.” In his laudatory speech on the evening of 1 November 2023, Professor Sándor Fekete was referring in particular to a young researcher at Technische Universität Braunschweig: Dr Phillip Keldenich. Dr Keldenich received the Heinrich Büssing Prize for his dissertation at a celebratory award ceremony. The prize, which has been awarded by the Braunschweigischer Hochschulbund and its foundation for 26 years, honours and promotes outstanding young researchers at TU Braunschweig. The prize money is 10,000 euros.

Explained by an example

In his dissertation, Dr Keldenich dealt with the solution of hard problems. These are problems for which it is highly unlikely that efficient algorithms can be found. This applies, for example, to the question of how to guide a vast number of warehouse robots through a warehouse to their destinations – with the greatest possible speed and without accidents. With hard problems like this, scientists often have to refrain from finding a strategy that gives them an optimal solution. Instead, they look for a strategy that leads them to the best possible solution. With such a good solution, the storage robots in the example reach their destination later than would be possible in the optimum case.

Not an optimal solution, but the best possible solution – guaranteed

In his dissertation, Dr Keldenich developed strategies for finding good solutions to a whole group of hard problems. And the special thing about it: “The solutions are guaranteed to only deviate from the optimum to a certain degree – regardless of the prevailing conditions.” For example, if there were thousands of robots in a warehouse, the last one would reach its destination only by a certain factor later than if it had travelled through the empty warehouse.

“These problems occur in very different forms in all kinds of areas of life and industry,” said Dr Keldenich. BHB Vice President and AGV Managing Director Cordula Miosga took this as an opportunity to invite Dr Keldenich to join the regional company network in her welcoming address: “Be a valued sparring partner for entrepreneurs. And perhaps your future research will be a direct innovative step for the economy.”

Dr Keldenich is currently working on his habilitation at the TU Braunschweig: “My goal is to obtain a professorship in order to remain in the academic world. But that’s not something you can count on. And it may take a while.”