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Sébastien Le Digabel
Dipl. Ing. (ISIMA, 1999), M.Sc. (Poly, 2002), Ph.D. (Poly, 2008)

Research interests and affiliations

Research interests
My research focuses on the design of algorithms for the optimization of complex applications usually encountered in engineering. These problems are typically defined by functions viewed as blackboxes in the sense that no property of the function is available. In this context, usual optimization methods based on derivatives are prohibited, hence the choice of derivative-free optimization algorithms and in particular the use of models and surrogates less expensive to evaluate.

My projects focus on three areas:
  1. Development of optimization methods
  2. Application to engineering problems
  3. Development of optimization software

Keywords: blackbox optimization, derivative-free methods, industrial applications, optimization software.

Expertise type(s) (NSERC subjects)
  • 1601 Operations research and management science
  • 2715 Optimization
  • 2956 Optimization and optimal control theory




Sébastien Le Digabel is a Professor of Mathematics at Polytechnique Montreal and a regular member of the GERAD research center. Before that, he obtained a PhD in applied mathematics from Polytechnique in 2008, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the IBM Watson Research Center and the University of Chicago in 2010 and 2011.

His research interests include the analysis and development of algorithms for blackbox optimization, and the design of related software. Blackbox optimization occurs when the functions to optimize are given by numerical simulations for which derivative information is not available. In this context, derivative-free optimization may be considered, and in particular the Mesh Adaptive Direct Search (MADS) method of Audet and Dennis, for which Le Digabel's thesis brought some extensions and upgrades. All of his work on MADS is included in the NOMAD software, a free package for blackbox optimization available at

S. Le Digabel's research is funded by the Canadian NSERC foundation, the Quebec FRQNT fund, IVADOInnovÉÉ, Hydro-Québec, Rio Tinto, and Huawei-Canada.

Supervision at Polytechnique


News about Sébastien Le Digabel

NEWS | April 19, 2021
Montréal: the optimal host city set to welcome the world’s largest mathematical optimization conference | Read
NEWS | February 25, 2021
NSERC Alliance Grants: Polytechnique Montréal ranks first, winning 24% of all funds awarded to Québec universities | Read