This is the homepage of Research Group NSO, which undertakes research on Networks and Strategic Optimization, with applications in Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research. Topics range from models of strategic optimization in network controlled interactions, search algorithms for finding best strategies in games, combinatorial optimization in phylogenetics, to the analysis of (evolutionary) competition in biological and biomedical settings. On these pages you can find infomation on our research, on the courses we teach, and on upcoming events that relate to our work.

NSO is part of the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE), which in turn belongs to the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) of Maastricht University.

Latest News

August 9, 2018: Kateřina Staňková hit the news by publishing a paper in JAMA Oncology on the application of Stackelberg Game Theory to improve cancer treatment. This was picked up at many international news sites as well, like ScienceDaily and Fortune.

April 6, 2018: DKE Vacancy: for the Digital Ludeme Project we are looking for a Phd student and a Postdoc in Artificial Intelligence and Game Playing. Apply before  April 30. 

February 7, 2018: Li You succesfully defended her PhD thesis titled Spatial and Nonspatial Evolutionary Games and Their Applications.

February 2, 2018: This day completes and exiting week on Understanding Cancer Through Evolutionary Game Theory organized at the Lorentz Center in Leiden by Kateřina Staňková and Frank Thuijsman in cooperation with Joel Brown and Robert Gatenby from the Moffitt Center, Tampa, Florida.

December 1, 2017: Cameron Browne has received a €2m ERC Consolidator Grant (https://erc.europa.eu/news/erc-2017-consolidator-grants-results) for the Digital Ludeme Project, to be run at NSO for five years starting mid-2018. This will be a computational study of the world’s traditional games throughout recorded human history. The research team will include Cameron Browne, 2xRAs and 2xPhDs. Advertising these positions will start soon.

February 10 2017: LetaBot, written by our Master AI student Martin Rooijackers, wins the StarCraft AI tournament at SSCAI 2016 and finishes first in the SSCAI 2016 mixed division as well.

November 21 2016: BSc and MSc students are (as always!) welcome to approach members of the NSO group for thesis ideas. A fairly up-to-date list of topics can be found here: NSO-thesis-topics-2016. Staff members can also be approached individually to discuss alternative ideas for thesis topics.

September 30 2016: Dennis Soemers, Chiara Sironi, Torsten Schuster and Mark Winands received the Best Student Paper Award Enhancements for the paper “Real-Time Monte-Carlo Tree Search in General Video Game Playing” at the 2016 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games.

September 30, 2016: MaastCTS2, written by our master AI student Dennis Soemers,  won the GVG-AI Single Player Plannning Championship 2016. It finished second at the GVG-AI Two-Player Plannning Championship 2016. Next, LetaBot finished third at the 2016 IEEE CIG StarCraft AI Competition.

September 1, 2016: Maastricht University will host the IEEE Computational Intelligence and Games Conference, which will take place on August 14-17, 2018.

August 1, 2016: MaastCTS2, written by our master AI student Dennis Soemers, won the GVG-AI single-player competition at GECCO 2016. MaastCTS2 also participated in the the GVG-AI two-player competition at the IEEE WCCI 2016, where it finished third (out of 13).

May 1st, 2016: From today Georgios Stamoulis will be joining us for two years as a postdoc (on the project mentioned directly below). Welcome Georgios!

February 2, 2016: There is a postdoc position available in our group, deadline for applications is February 23, 2016, see here for more information.

January 27, 2016: For DKE students looking for BSc and MSc graduation topics we have updated the list of topics available in our research group: NSO-thesis-topics-2016.

January 1, 2016: NSO participates in organizing the IJCAI Computer Games Workshop 2016, which will be held in New York City, USA, July 2016. For more information, have a look at the workshop website.

December 1, 2015: PhD. Defence Nela Lekic, 16.00h: “Trees, agreement forests and treewidth”.

November 17, 2015: SIKS-DKE Symposium: Monte-Carlo Search Goes General, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

September 22, 2015: The website for GAMES 2016, the 5th World  Congress of the Game Theory Society, is now available online: www.games2016.nl.

September 22, 2015: Subgoal A* Agent, written by our master AI student Daniel Fischer, participated in the IEEE CIG 2015 Geometry Friends competition in the Rectangle track. The Subgoal A* Agent finished first in the Rectangle track.

September 18, 2015: PhD. Defence Hendrik Baier, 16:00h, Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

July 9, 2015: From academic year 2015-2016 onwards our Master program in Operations Research will become a Master in Operations Research and Data Science. It will include a new course on Algorithms for Big Data, and data will be a recurring theme within several existing courses. The structure of the new program is available here.

March 2, 2015: Chiara Sironi has joined NSO as a PhD student on the NWO project Learning Online Search-Control Knowledge for General Game Playing (GoGeneral), supervised by Mark Winands. At the same time, Matus Mihalak has joined NSO as an Assistant Professor.

February 27, 2015: Our LetaBot has won SSCAI 2014.The StarCraft AI Tournament is an educational event. It serves as a challenging competitive environment mainly for students of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science. Letabot finished first in the SSCAI 2014 mixed division as well, which is open to non-students. You can read about this tournament in English, Russian, Spanish, and Czech.

January 12, 2015: Today, Dr. Qing Gao, School of Mathematics, UESTC, Chengdu, has joined NSO as a PostDoc for one month to work with Frank Thuijsman on the design of decision making experiments for MRI studies.

August 21, 2014: Today, Dr. Chun Wen, School of Mathematics, UESTC, Chengdu, has joined NSO as a PostDoc for one year to work on numerical solutions for Markov chains and Markov games, supervised by Pieter Collins and Frank Thuijsman.
On September 1, Katharina Schüller is joining NSO for four years to work as a PhD student on evolutionary dynamical systems, supervised by Ralf Peeters and Frank Thuijsman.