Research trends in combinatorial optimization

Jann Michael Weinand* (Corresponding Author), Kenneth Sörensen, Pablo San Segundo, Max Kleinebrahm, Russell McKenna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Real-world problems are becoming highly complex and therefore have to be solved with combinatorial optimization (CO) techniques. Motivated by the strong increase in publications on CO, 8393 articles from this research field are subjected to a bibliometric analysis. The corpus of literature is examined using mathematical methods and a novel algorithm for keyword analysis. In addition to the most relevant countries, organizations, and authors as well as their collaborations, the most pertinent CO problems, solution methods, and application areas are presented. Publications on CO focus mainly on the development or enhancement of metaheuristics like genetic algorithms. The increasingly problem-oriented studies deal particularly with real-world applications within the energy sector, production sector, or data management, which are of increasing relevance due to various global developments. The demonstration of global research trends in CO can support researchers in identifying the relevant issues regarding this expanding and transforming research area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-705
Number of pages39
JournalInternational Transaction in Operation Research
Issue number2
Early online date27 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

This work has been partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities through the project COGDRIVE (DPI2017-86915-C3-3-R). In this context, we would also like to thank the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.


  • combinatorial optimization
  • OR in energy
  • exact algorithms
  • genetic algorithms
  • metaheuristics
  • bibliometric analysis


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