June 6th - 8th 2024, KU Leuven - Ghent, Belgium

The 37th Conference of the European Chapter on Combinatorial Optimization will be held in Ghent (Belgium), from 6 until 8 June 2024. The conference will be hosted at KU Leuven's campus in Ghent, at a 10-minute walk from Ghent's historical city center.

ECCO (European Chapter on Combinatorial Optimization) is a Working Group of EURO (Association of European Operational Research Societies) that provides an excellent opportunity to discuss recent and important issues in Combinatorial Optimization and its applications.


Aims and Objectives

The ECCO annual meetings aim to bring together researchers in the field of Combinatorial Optimization to present their work, share experiences, and discuss recent advances in theory and applications. The primary objectives are:

Call for Abstracts

We invite all reseachers, practitioners and students interested in the following subject areas to submit an abstract:

Important dates

Deadline for Abstract Submission April 5th, 2024  April 18th, 2024
Notification of Acceptance April 19th, 2024  April 22th, 2024
Deadline for Early Registration April 30th, 2024  May 10th, 2024
Deadline for Late Registration May 20th, 2024  May 25th, 2024
ECCO Conference 2024 June 6th – 8th, 2024

Plenary Speakers

My T. Thai (University of Florida, United States)

Title: Accelerating Viral Marketing: From Combinatorial Strategies to Learning-Based Solutions
The landscape of viral marketing is evolving rapidly, demanding innovative approaches to maximize influence and cost-effectiveness in billion-scale networks. This keynote explores cutting-edge advancements in viral marketing optimization, transcending traditional combinatorial approaches to learning-based strategies. Our journey begins with a traditional (1-1/e)-approximation algorithm with accelerated sampling frameworks, further demonstrating an almost exact solution for this NP-hard problem. Shifting gears to heterogeneous multiplex networks, we introduce combinatorial algorithms that effectively navigate complex overlapping user dynamics, capturing the influences between and within multiple networks. Embracing machine learning, we unveil a transformative framework designed to overcome fundamental obstacles in traditional non-learning-based approaches. Finally, our exploration concludes with MIM-Reasoner, which exploits the reinforcement learning with probabilistic graphical models to address the viral marketing across various platforms.

Thomas Magnanti (MIT, United States)

Title: Designing Transportation and Telecommunications Networks
Network design is a broad topic that has many applications and poses many challenges for the field of combinatorial optimization. The basic issue is to meet the delivery of goods ( e.g., people, freight, messages) from sources to destinations by constructing a network of physical links or routes that incur a fixed cost for installation. The links or routes might be capacitated and the network might have special structure. In this presentation I will discuss some combinatorial and integer programming issues and results, with an emphasis on transportation and telecommunications networks.

El-Ghazali Talbi (Université de Lille, France)

Title: Metaheuristics for the automated design and configuration of Deep Neural Networks
In recent years, research in metaheuristic optimization approaches in the automatic design and configuration of deep neural networks has become increasingly popular. Although various approaches have been proposed, there is a lack of a comprehensive survey and taxonomy on this hot research topic. In this talk, we propose a unified way to describe the various metaheuristics that focus on common and important search components of optimization algorithms: representation, objective function, constraints, initial solution(s), and variation operators. In addition to large-scale search space, the problem is characterized by its variable mixed design space, it is very expensive, and it has multiple blackbox objective functions. Hence, this unified methodology has been extended to advanced optimization approaches, such as surrogate-based, multi-objective, and parallel optimization.

Stefan Irnich (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany)

Title: Shortest Path Problems With Resource Constraints
In most vehicle routing and crew scheduling problems solved by column generation-based methods, the subproblem is a variant of the shortest path problem with resource constraints (SPPRC). The SPPRC has contributed to the success of these methods in at least two ways: First, its resource constraints provide a flexible tool for modeling complex cost structures as well as a wide variety of rules that define the feasibility of a route or a schedule. Second, efficient algorithms are available for at least for some important variants of the SPPRC. The talk presents selected examples of modeling with SPPRC and an overview of state-of-the-art methods for solving SPPRC.
Supported by FWO Scientific Research Community OR4Logistics (grant number W001321N).

Abstract Submissions

Abstract submission is CLOSED

For each submitted paper, ONE unique registration must be submitted as well (e.g., for two submitted papers, two separate registrations must be submitted).


Registration type Cost (€)
Regular Early Registration until: May 10th, 2024 220
Regular Late Registration until: May 25th, 2024 275
Student Early Registration until: May 10th, 2024 155
Student Late Registration until: May 25th, 2024 220
Accompanying person registration (Conference dinner & Social event) until: May 25th, 2024 120

Registrations are CLOSED.
After submitting the form, you will receive two emails: one with the payment details and another with the registration details. If you do not receive these emails, please check your spam folder or contact [email protected].

Transfer costs (e.g., credit card fees, etc.) are not included in the registration fee and are paid by the delegate.

Special Student Rate: 20 master/PhD students will be supported and can apply for the Special Student Rate. To qualify for the Special Student Rate, students need to provide official evidence of their studentship from their institution on a stamped letterhead. Student applications with their university certificates should be submitted by email by April 18th. The announcement of the acceptance/rejection of the applications will be made by April 22th.

The category (early/late) of the registration fees are determined by the date the payment is made, not the date of registration.

Cancellation policy: The registration of participation is binding. Cancellation of registration must be submitted in writing via email. Cancellations received before May 25th 2024 are subject to a 20% administrative fee. No refunds will be paid after May 25th 2024.

Scientific & Social Programs

The Conference will take place between Thursday June 6th and Saturday June 8th 2024.

Programme of Talks

Social Events

  • Thursday June 6th: Enjoy authentic Belgian fries paired with locally brewed beer.
  • Friday June 7th: Join us for the conference dinner at Pakhuis.
  • Saturday June 8th: Explore Ghent's rich history with a guided tour of the city center.


A special issue of the Journal of Combinatorial Optimization will be devoted to work presented at the conference.
All articles will be refereed according to the high standards of the journal. Details of the process will be given during the conference.


The conference will be hosted at KU Leuven-Ghent, Gebroeders De Smetstraat 1, Ghent

Travel & Accommodation


  • Conference participants who require a visa to enter Belgium are kindly asked to contact the Local Organizing Commitee Chair to solicit an official letter.
  • Information about how to reach Ghent and the campus can be found on KU Leuven's website.


We recommend the following hotels for conference participants: More accommodation options are available via Tripadvisor, Hostelworld or Booking.


Program committee

Organizing committee

  • Greet Vanden Berghe (chair), KU Leuven
  • Tony Wauters (co-chair), KU Leuven
  • Jeroen Gardeyn, KU Leuven
  • Pieter Smet, KU Leuven