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Applied simulation brought Pouya to Skövde

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

About two months ago Ph.D student Pouya Aghaei Pour left Finland, and the University of Jyväskyläa, in autumn colors to come and get to know the School of Engineering Science at the University of Skövde.

Ph.D student Pouya Aghaei Pour
Ph.D student Pouya Aghaei Pour

The idea of visiting Skövde started when Pouya Aghaei Pour participated in an online conference and took part in a seminar held by VF-KDO Project Leader and professor in automation engineering Amos Ng. Pouya immediately felt he had to reach out to Amos Ng to discuss common grounds.

-I talked to my supervisor, who knows Amos Ng very well. And we decided that I should come to the Engineering faculty here at the University of Skövde and initiate the communication between the two research groups, says Pouya.

Tailor-made solutions to fit customer needs

Pouya’s interest is working with everyday problems involving machine learning, optimization, decision-making, etc. and improving them. He points out that the methods used today are not the best ones but the most common ones. Through optimization techniques, he wants to tailor-made solutions to fit customer needs.

-I have an algorithmic mindset, I really don’t care so much about what kind of problem I have to solve as long as I can grasp a general idea around it. What is important to me is understanding what the stakeholders want. Simulate their preference and deliver a solution that is not a general solution but an optimal one for the stakeholder (based on his/her preference), says Pouya.

Skövde’s simulation focus caught his attention

Pouya has a Master’s degree in optimization from the Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran and moved to Finland in 2018 to start his Ph.D. studies. His primary research is using evolutionary multi-objective optimization algorithms for computationally expensive problems by involving a decision-maker in the optimization process, also known as interactive methods.

-The University of Jyväskylä doesn’t have the applied simulation focus that you have here in Skövde. It is quite unique, so that caught my attention. In that way, the two universities could complement each other very well. Both groups want to know what the other one is doing, says Pouya.

Working with ergonomic cases

When Pouya arrived to the University of Skövde he started working with Ph.D. student Aitor Iriondo Pascual and his Ergonomic simulator EPP. An optimization tool that allows designers to consider the workers' well-being when designing a workstation or a production line.

-It’s been great working with Aitor; his research was also easy to understand – through this tool we can simulate a workstation from an ergonomic perspective and analyze how it affects the well-being of human workers and their ergonomics. We have decided to write a paper together so our collaboration will continue, says Pouya.

In addition to his work with Aitor, Pouya started a project together with his supervisor and Sunith Bandaru, Associate Professor of Production Engineering at the University of Skövde. The focus of the project is multi-objective optimization and how to evaluate interactive methods.

Post-doc. plans down the road

By the time this interview gets published, Pouya has returned to the University of Jyväskyläa where Pouya will start the last phase of his doctoral research. Next, he says, he wants to find a place in academia to do his post-doc, during which he wants to keep working with the simulation group here in Skövde.

-It could be great to keep working with the Skövde-team. I really like both Sweden and Finland. An observation I’ve done these past weeks is that I’ve lived in Finland since 2018 and still I cannot understand a single word in Finnish. After just two months in Sweden, I can actually understand some Swedish words and get the context. That is quite funny, concludes Pouya.

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