Mission statement

The research unit KERMIT (Knowledge-based Systems) adopts a holistic view on mathematical and computational modelling, acknowledging the needs of our modern information society with a particular focus on the applied biological sciences. It strives to keep a unique balance between theoretical developments and practical applications, a strategy that has proven particularly successful, regarding the output, visibility and recognition of the team. It plays a pioneering role by promoting existing as well as developing new methods in a broad range of disciplines shown below.

Methodological expertise

KERMIT started out in 2000 with two men and a dog as a team in fuzzy set theory and preference modelling, and quickly expanded into the fields of artificial/computational intelligence and operations research. Over the years, it has evolved into a holistic team covering the entire data-to-decision pipeline. It provides methodological expertise in the following areas:

  • image processing and computer vision (e.g. mathematical morphology, filters)
  • knowledge-based systems (e.g. bioportals, ontologies)
  • dynamical modelling (e.g. differential equations, cellular automata, individual-based models)
  • data science and machine learning (e.g. time series prediction, structured prediction, deep learning, big data)
  • management of imprecision and uncertainty (e.g. probability, possibility and fuzzy set theory; stochastic modelling, theory of copulas)
  • optimization and operations research (e.g. preference modelling, multi-criteria decision making)


Three degrees at UNIMORE

On April 22, 2022, at the end of the XXXIV PhD Cycle of the Doctoral Program in Labour, Development and Innovation at the Marco Biagi Foundation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, three PhD students of Prof. Silvia Muzzioli were awarded the PhD degree. Bernard De Baets acted as co-supervisor of Luca Gambarelli, with a thesis entitled "Assessing market risk in the EU", and also provided guidance to Filippo Damiani, with a thesis entitled "Innovation, social cohesion and inequalities in Europe: a poset-based approach", and Filippo Ferrarini, with a thesis entitled "Regional competitiveness, HRM practices and firm innovation at European level". Their research was dramatically impacted by COVID-19, with Luca only participating in Teams meetings from his UGent dormitory in the fall of 2020, and the Filippi only meeting live with Bernard for the first time at the Workshop "A multi-criteria approach to social indicators" on May 18 at the Marco Biagi Foundation after years of Teams meetings. They are all bound to collaborate in the years to come.

Three degrees at UNIMORE Three degrees at UNIMORE Three degrees at UNIMORE

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Most recent journal publications
Biblio logo(684) Covering the combinatorial design space of multiplex CRISPR/Cas experiments in plants
K. Van Huffel, M. Stock, T. Ruttink and B. De Baets
(2022) FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE. 13, 907095.
Biblio logo(683) Lifting associative operations on subposets of a complete lattice
Y. Dan and B. De Baets
(2022) FUZZY SETS AND SYSTEMS. 441, 286-309.
Biblio logo(682) Identification of phage receptor-binding protein sequences with hidden Markov models and an extreme gradient boosting classifier
D. Boeckaerts, M. Stock, B. De Baets and Y. Briers
(2022) VIRUSES. 14, 1329.
All KERMIT publications