Sebastian Pokutta received both his master's degree in 2003 and his Ph.D. in 2005 in Mathematics from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. Subsequent to his graduate studies he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Operations Research Center. Upon completion Pokutta was appointed as an optimization specialist at IBM ILOG and later joined KDB Krall Demmel Baumgarten, a risk management consultancy. He then returned to academia as a research scientist at the Technische Universität Darmstadt and was a visiting lecturer at MIT. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Pokutta worked as a professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Pokutta's research concentrates on polyhedral combinatorics at the intersection of combinatorial optimization and theoretical computer science as well as the combination of machine learning and optimization. A particular focus is on the theory of extended formulations, exploring the limits of computation in alternative models of complexity while leveraging techniques from communication complexity and information theory.
Pokutta has also worked on applications and combinations of optimization methods and machine learning in order to leverage data in the context of pressing industrial and financial challenges. These areas include supply chain management, manufacturing, cyber-physical systems (incl. industrial internet, industry 4.0, internet of things), and finance. Examples of Pokutta's applied work include stowage optimization problems for inland vessels, oil production problems, clearing of electricity markets, order fulfillment problems, warehouse location problems, portfolio optimization problems, and optimal liquidity management strategies.