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2011 NAST Outstanding Young Scientist: JOSEPH M. PASIA, Ph.D. Social and Economic Sciences (Applied Mathematics)

For 2011, Dr. Joseph M. Pasia was chosen as one of the recipients of the Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Phl), in acknowledgment of his significant contributions to the study of evolutionary computation and its applications in the field of operations research, finance, and health care.  The award is given to deserving young individuals not more than 40 years old (in the year of the award) who showed significant contributions to science and technology.

His research involves the analysis, design and implementation of evolutionary algorithms for optimization problems in transportation and logistics, scheduling, and financial portfolio selection.  Using his training in mathematical optimization, he has found solutions to real-life problems such as vehicle routing and flowshop scheduling problems.  With collaborators, he developed a risk-group oriented chronic disease progression model for breast cancer patients.  In his various researches, Dr. Pasia developed sophisticated metaheuristic methods to obtain insights and good solutions to these problems which do not have exact solutions.  His research outputs have been published in various national and international refereed journals.

Dr. Pasia has produced a significant number of published papers, in which a majority was published in ISI-indexed journals. His undergraduate study on braid theory (using concepts from group theory and geometry) are now important objects especially with their connections to string theory. His masters’ thesis on the other hand, has employed methods from operations research. Further, his doctorate studies bring together all the tools and theories that he has learned in applied mathematics.

His solid training in various fields and versatility has allowed him to mentor at an early point in his career to a good number of graduate and undergraduate students. Moreover, he has been consistently been evaluated by peers and students as one of the best teachers in the Institute of Mathematics.

The vehicle routing problem (VRP) consists of finding the optimal route for a fleet of vehicles, starting and ending at a single depot, that must serve as a set of n customer demands such that each customer is visited by only one vehicle route. If each vehicle can only collect a maximum capacity of units of demand, then the problem is known as a capacitated VRP (CVRP). The objectives of the CVRP that Dr. Pasia has tackled are minimization of tour lengths and balancing of routes. Although exact approaches have been proposed to solve the VRP, it is now known that VRP is NP-hard (computationally difficult) and therefore metaheuristic methods may be the best approach to get good solutions.

When done indiscriminately, metaheuristic approaches may not lead to efficient approaches. Thus, an important research concern of Dr. Pasia is the rigorous analysis of these methods. However, in the papers of Dr. Pasia, he has shown that the computational results he has obtained outperform the best known algorithms for the problems tackled.

Mathematics is often criticized for being an ivory tower discipline, with mathematicians engaging in esoteric and complicated concepts. The work of Dr. Pasia reveals a gifted mathematician – with solid grounding in theory but who can use these complicated theories to help solve practical and pressing problems of society.

Dr. Pasia obtained his doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences at the University of Vienna (2006). He received his M.S. in Applied Math and B.S. in Mathematics at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2001 and 1998, respectively. Luningning Samarita, Executive Director, NAST

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