Welcome to MESS 2020

Many challenging applications in Science and Industry can be formulated as optimization problems. Due to their complexity and hardness often they cannot be solved in an exact manner within a reasonable time; thus approximate algorithms become the main alternatives to solve them thanks to their ability to efficiently explore large search spaces.

Metaheuristics are successful techniques able to solve such complex and hard optimization problems that arise in human activities, such as economics, industry, or engineering, and constitute a highly diverse family of optimization algorithms, each of which shows individual properties, and different strengths.

The international Metaheuristics Summer School is aimed at qualified and strongly motivated MSc and PhD students; post-docs; young researchers, and both academic and industrial professionals to provide an overview on the several metaheuristics techniques, and an in-depth analysis of the state-of-the-art. The main theme of the 2020 edition is “Learning and Optimization from Big Data”, therefore MESS 2020 wants to focus on (i) Learning for Metaheuristics; (ii) Optimization in Machine Learning; and (iii) how Optimization and Learning affect the Metaheuristics making them relevant in handling Big Data.

The courses will be held by world renowned experts in the field, and will be inspected practical aspects on complex combinatorial optimization problems, as well as examples of their successful real-world applications. The participants will have plenty of opportunities for debate and work with leaders in the field, benefiting from direct interaction and discussions in a stimulating environment. They will also have the possibility to present their recently results and/or their working in progress through oral or poster presentations, and interact with their scientific peers, in a friendly and constructive environment.

All participants to the school will be involved in the “Metaheuristics Competition”, where each of them, individually or divided in working groups, they will must develop a metaheuristic solution on the given problem. The top three of the competition ranking will receive the MESS 2020 prize. Further, the students, whose algorithms will rank in the five top of the competition ranking, will be invited to submit a report/manuscript of their work to be published in the special MESS 2020 Volume of the AIRO Springer Series.

MESS 2020 will involve a total of 36-40 hours of lectures, therefore in according to the academic system, all PhD and master students attending to the summer school will may get 8 ECTS points. Further, during the summer school the students will tackle homework, or project development.

Important Dates


Application Deadline: March 5, 2020

Notification acceptance: March 30, 2020

Early Registration: by May 1, 2020

Late Registration: from May 2, 2020




Swagatam Das
Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

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Luca Maria Gambardella
IDSIA Istituto Dalle Molle for Artificial Intelligence, Switzerland
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Emma Hart
Edinburgh Napier University, UK

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Mauricio Resende
Mathematical Optimization and Planning, AMAZON, USA
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Roman Slowiński
Poznań University of Technology, Poland
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The Metaheuristics Summer School aims to provide a stimulating environment for all participants, where they may interact and exchange ideas with their scientific peers in a friendly and constructive way. At this end to all participants is offered the opportunity to present their research activities on the Metaheuristics by an oral or poster presentation.

All participants may submit then an abstract (in any printable pdf format) of their recent results, or works in progress, or recently published to be presented in the workshop. The abstract must be submitted before 5th March 2020, and must be written in English. Each abstract will be reviewed by the Workshop Chairs and/or Scientific Committee, which will decide on the format of the presentation (oral or poster), in according to the authors’ request. All abstracts, in any format, will be published in an electronic book of the summer school that will be put online on the website.

For poster presentation, a board will be provided to mount the poster including all logistic material (push tacks or velcro adhesive). You need only to print and bring with you the poster to the school.

For more information send an email to: mess.school @ ANTs-lab.it


Organizing Committee

MESS 2020 Directors



Pascal Bouvry
University of Luxembourg


Salvatore Greco
University of Catania, Italy


Ender Ozcan
University of Nottingham, UK


Mario F. Pavone
University of Catania, Italy


El-Ghazali Talbi
University of Lille-1, France


Daniele Vigo
University of Bologna, Italy


Workshop Chairs



Vincenzo Cutello
University of Catania, Italy


Paola Festa
University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy


Isaac Triguero
University of Nottingham, UK


Metaheuristics Competition Chairs



Raffaele Cerulli
University of Salerno, Italy


Andrea Schaerf
University of Udine, Italy



Local Organizing Committee

Vincenzo Cutello (Chair), University of Catania, Italy
Laura Scrimali, University of Catania, Italy
Antonio Spampinato, University of Catania, Italy
Rocco A. Scollo, University of Catania, Italy
Georgia Fargetta, University of Catania, Italy
Antonino Di Stefano, ANTs Research Laboratory, Italy
Alessandro Vitale, ANTs Research Laboratory, Italy
Carolina Crespi, University of Catania, Italy
Francesco Zito, University of Catania, Italy


Publicity Chair

Stephan Petrone, ANTs Research Laboratory, Italy



MESS 2020 will take place at the “Palazzo delle Scienze”, today place of the Department of Economics and Business of the University of Catania.