I am very happy to announce that on Wednesday, April 8th 2020, the PhD-colloquium of Samineh Bagheri, which I had the honor to supervise at TH Köln, successfully took place. Her thesis “Self-Adjusting Surrogate-Assisted Optimization Techniques for Expensive Constrained Black Box Problems” deals with state-of-the art optimization algorithms supported by RBF surrogate models. In normal times we would have been all traveling to Leiden University and would have made the ceremony in the prestigious Leiden senate hall. But times are not normal. Due to Covid-19 it was impossible to proceed as planned. But Leiden University is very innovative, and they decided to do their first-time ever fully-online PhD defence via video-conferencing. Committee members from different countries (Spain, Netherlands and Germany), participated and the whole procedure went through rather smoothly. As usual in the Netherlands, there is no grade in the PhD defence, it ended with a “passed”.
But Prof. Thomas Bäck, her promotor at Leiden University, made it very clear in his ‘eulogy’ (laudatio) that Samineh Bagheri is an outstanding researcher which impressed him and all other scientific colleagues by her creativity, large scientific output (11 papers during her PhD at prestigious conferences and scientific journals). And I, as her supervisor here at TH Köln, can truly confirm this: It was an honor to work with her, to have plentiful discussions with her many fresh scientific ideas, and to see her diligence and helpfulness in all aspects of research and teaching. Probably I never saw a better student here in my time at TH Köln. Because: When does it happen that a PhD student during her time gets three (!) Best Paper or Young Author Awards? Which is what she did. Besides that, I will miss her as a very helpful and committed co-worker. However, it is clear that she has to go on with her professional career, and the sadness of letting her go is mitigated by the fact that she – at least for a couple of years – will be nearby at the Innovation Hub in Prof. Denis Anders’ group. I hope to continue to work with her on scientific topics!
Prof. Wolfgang Konen