Frank's pre-PhD projects

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In my pre-PhD work, I have mainly been researching in

Here's a list of major projects I've been involved with in the past - details can be found in my papers.

Microsoft Research Cambridge

Research internship at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK

Supervisor: Youssef Hamadi

Based on work by Kevin Leyton-Brown, we worked on using runtime prediction for automated parameter setting in search algorithms. We also employed Bayesian learning to enable incremental learning and a quantification of the uncertainty of our runtime estimates.

Here's a presentation I gave at the Cork Constraint Computation Center about this work.

TU Darmstadt

M.Sc. thesis ("Diplomarbeit") at Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany.

Title: "Stochastic Local Search for Solving the Most Probable Explanation Problem in Bayesian Networks"

Supervisors: Thomas Stützle, TUD & Holger Hoos, UBC

Here, I introduced new SLS algorithms for solving the MPE problem in arbitrary Graphical models. These algorithms scale very well for problems with high induced width, much better than state-of-the-art algorithms based on Branch-and-Bound with a Mini-Buckets heuristic.

Check out my webpage about MPE solving.

Summers of 2002 and 2003

Summer Student Research Program (SSRP) -
Internship at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California

Supervisor: Richard Dearden

We worked on Situational Awareness in Mars Rovers, applying Rao-Blackwellized Particle Filtering and Junction Trees for approximate online filtering in Dynamic Bayesian Networks.

Check out my webpage about the Gaussian Particle Filter.

As a visiting grad at


Stochastic Local Search for computational design of RNA molecules that fold to a given Secondary Structure

Supervisors: Holger Hoos, Anne Condon
Coworkers: Mirela Andronescu, Anthony Fejes, Firas Hamze

Check out the free RNA Designer Software at

As a visiting grad at


Development of the SAPS algorithm, a Dynamic Local Search algorithm for solving the propositional satisfiability problem (SAT)

Supervisor: Holger Hoos
Coworker: Dave Tompkins

Check out the DLS for SAT webpage, maintained by Dave

I like working in teams, so if you have an idea for shared projects, I'm likely to be interested :-)