The Center of Advanced Process Optimization originated from the Laboratory for Systems Engineering, Research Institute for Chemical Engineering, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Laboratory, organized in 1984 by Prof. F. Friedler, aimed at developing practical optimization tools applicable to the design and synthesis of processing systems. The Laboratory was highly successful in establishing a novel and unique paradigm in research on graph theory that proved to be extremely effective in solving complex industrial problems. This success provided impetus to the continuous growth of the Laboratory and culminated in the formation of the Department of Systems Engineering in 1990. The research performed in the Laboratory and subsequently in the Department focused more on the engineering aspects than on the mathematical aspects of the problems to be solved.

At the outset of the 1990's, the Hungarian academic community initiated restructuring of its infrastructure by steadily increasing emphasis on and resource allocation to research performed in universities. Thus, it has become abundantly clear that an organization parallel to the Department of Systems Engineering of the Academy of Sciences should be established at a university. This has given rise to the formation of the Department of Computer Science in 1995 at the University of Veszprem. These two departments have been housed on the same facilities and directed by a single individual to take advantage of the available resources to the maximum extent possible. By the end of the 90's, the Department at the Academy of Sciences has been transformed in its entirety to the University's Department.

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Veszprem teaches computer science to a large number of well-qualified students enrolled in the university's very successful Course (Program) in Information Technology. The Center of Advanced Process Optimization has been established to separate the educational and research activities and to benefit from the research capabilities of the students and the staff involved in instructing them. Obviously, the students and staff also benefit from participating in the research activities of the Center.

It is expected that the Center firmly establishes the interface between mathematics and engineering. The in-depth understanding of the latest development in mathematics as well as the modern issues in engineering design especially those pertaining to process-systems engineering has played the key role in the growth of the Center. Both the Department and the Center have been headed by Prof. F. Friedler since their inception.

The Center has participated in number of EU research projects and joint projects through which it has consistently contributed new theories, technologies and tools for the advancement of engineering design. Currently, Ph.D. students and several MSc. students are participating in the Center's research activities.

The Center has won renown for its conception of the P-graph (process-graph) approach to process synthesis and for its successful applications to the process-network synthesis; separation-network synthesis; and integration of process and heat exchanger-network syntheses. International recognition has been bestowed on the Center because of the scope and quality of its research activities; its scientific publications and international projects; increasing collaboration with other European and American research institutions and universities; and the socio-economic environments of the region favorable to research.