A planet organized by humans

Published on September 5th, 2013 | by Daphane Ng

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Optimisation in Industry

In early June, people came together from around Australia and the world, from industry, academia, government and IBM to discuss the applications of mathematical optimisation techniques to industrial problems.

The three day event pulled together people with incredibly deep knowledge of different areas, including the mathematical details of optimisation, the use of these techniques in full scale industrial problems, and a variety of industries, including transportation, mining and logistics.

The speakers were selected from across a range of sectors and gave some fantastic talks. The first day was focused on setting the scene and giving everyone the flavour of industrial optimisation research. The morning started with impressive keynotes by Dr Brenda Dietrich, IBM Fellow and VP, who spoke about the growth and directions of business analytics, and John Gaffney of VicRoads who told us about the use of instrumentation and controls in order to improve the flow along the M1 to above world class standards. The keynotes set a very high standard, which was maintained throughout the workshop. The rest of Day 1 included presentations of case studies by brilliant speakers from Australia and overseas.

For the second and third days, a selection of speakers from around the world went in to more detail about research projects and open questions. These projects were in areas such as the Hunter Valley Coal Chain, Norwegian trains, less-than-truckload carriers, emergency evacuation, tax collection, mine production planning, LNG, hospital occupancy and supply chain emissions. Some featured talks included Dr Irvin Lustig describing the life cycle of an optimisation project, and a presentation by Mr Robert Robinson from LinFox about the problems they face and what they have not seen in off-the-shelf software. All presentations were followed by animated discussions.

This workshop was a great opportunity to mix with people from different sectors and allowed us all to learn from each other. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped put it together. Special thanks must go to the speakers, who all gave entertaining and informative talks, which were accessible and interesting to a very broad audience, as well as the whole organisational committee, in particular, to Prof Andrew Eberhard from RMIT and to Dr Irina Dumitrescu from IBM Research – Australia.

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