BASF is a return-focused global company generating long-term growth and profitability from its activities in chemicals, agriculture and nutrition, and oil and gas. The company's product range includes high-value chemicals, plastics, dyestuffs and pigments, dispersions, automobile and industrial coatings, crop protection products, fine chemicals, crude oil and natural gas. BASF's approach to integration, known in German as "Verbund," is one of the company's particular strengths and provides a unique competitive advantage. With sales in 1999 of Euro 29.5 billion (about $29.5 billion) and a workforce of 105,000 employees, BASF is one of the world's top chemical companies. BASF's Internet address is www.basf.com.

BASF's 'Scientific Computing' unit offers in-house consultancy based on interdisciplinary experience in the context of mathematics applied to real world problems. It provides advice on the choice and application of methods and software as well as dedicated problem solutions integrated into existing environments. The techniques employed cover a wide range from analytical solutions to combinatorial optimisation, which is one major field of activity. Knowledge transfer from actual research to the real world is pushed ahead via intense contacts to and co-operation with software-vendors and research institutes.

Complex problems in production planning and scheduling have been successfully solved by BASF's 'Scientific Computing' unit. Mixed integer (non-) linear programming is a standard approach, while Constraint Programming is one of the recent activities of the group. Long and fruitful experience in the CEC-funded projects PAMIPS (Parallel Algorithms and Software for Mixed Integer Programming in Industrial Scheduling) and MEMIPS (Model Enhanced Solution Methods for Integer Programming Software) encouraged BASF to proceed now with LISCOS.