MISG Public Lecture in Newcastle, NSW

As part of MISG, a special public lecture will take place on Friday, 31st January, 2020, in the Hunter Room of Newcastle City Hall (290 King Street, Newcastle; note new venue!). Please register for free to attend this public lecture, and arrive by 5:00 pm for 5:30 pm.

This public lecture is supported by the Royal Society of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle, Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM) and the New South Wales Chief Scientist & Engineer Conference Sponsorship Program.

The lecture will be given by Professor Ryan Loxton from Curtin University of Technology on:

Mathematics in Industry: Optimisation in Action – Unlocking Value in the Mining, Energy, and Agriculture Industries

Optimisation is a branch of applied mathematics that focuses on using mathematical techniques to optimise complex systems. Real-world optimisation problems are typically enormous in scale, with hundreds of thousands of inter-related variables and constraints, multiple conflicting objectives, and numerous candidate solutions that can easily exceed the total number of atoms in the solar system, overwhelming even the fastest supercomputers. Mathematical optimisation has numerous applications in business and industry, but there is a big mismatch between the optimisation problems studied in academia (which tend to be highly structured problems) and those encountered in practice (which are non-standard, highly unstructured problems). This lecture gives a non-technical overview of the presenter’s recent experiences in building optimisation models and practical algorithms in the oil and gas, mining, and agriculture sectors. Some of this practical work has led to academic journal articles, showing that the gap between industry an academia can be overcome.

About the speaker: Professor Ryan Loxton

Affiliation: School of Electrical Engineering, Computing, and Mathematical Sciences, Curtin University

Webpage: https://staffportal.curtin.edu.au/staff/profile/view/R.Loxton/

Biography: Ryan Loxton is a professor and the discipline leader for mathematics and statistics in the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing, and Mathematical Sciences at Curtin University. Ryan’s research interests lie in the areas of optimisation, optimal control, and data science. His work has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and various industry partners, from small start-ups to large corporations. In particular, Ryan’s ARC grants include two prestigious, highly competitive fellowships: an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011–2014) and a current ARC Future Fellowship that runs until the end of 2021. His work focuses on using advanced mathematics to optimise complex processes in a wide range of applications such as mining, oil and gas, agriculture, and industrial process control. Ryan’s algorithms underpin the Quantum software platform developed by Aurora Global for tracking, executing, and optimising shutdown maintenance operations at mine sites. Ryan is a passionate advocate for industry engagement and has worked extensively with industry where he has led demand-driven research projects with many companies, both big and small, including Woodside Energy, Vekta Automation, Fleetcare and Global Grain Handling Solutions. Ryan was the recipient of the 2018 JH Michell Medal from the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM) as the outstanding researcher of the year, and the 2014 Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year. Ryan currently leads the optimisation theme in the new Australian Research Council’s Industrial Training Centre on Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, which is funded by a $3.9 million grant from the Australian Research Council plus matched funding from industry partners Alcoa, BHP Billiton and Roy Hill.

Report: “Study groups with industry: what is the value?”

A report by Martine Barons, Chris Budd OBE, Joanna Jordan and Matt Butcher entitled “Study groups with industry: what is the value?” describes how workshops like MISG work and what industry and academics who attend them are hoping to achieve. It presents three case studies from past study groups and describes their direct outcomes (such as publications and jobs for PhD students). The report makes interesting reading and might help to demystify MISG if you have never attended before.

PDF icon Download the report here.

MISG 2020

The 2020 Mathematics in Industry Study Group workshop will be held at NeW Space, the University of Newcastle’s city campus, from 28th January until 1st February, 2020.

MISG 2019

The 2019 Mathematics in Industry Study Group workshop was held in Adelaide at the City West campus of the University of South Australia, from 21-25 January 2019.

Due to problems securing suitable industry problems this year, we ran a smaller event where we worked on the Explorer Challenge.

Despite the smaller event, we had 31 delegates at MISG. These included delegates from Oxford in the UK and from Japan. About half of the delegates were PhD students, with seven of these from the IDTC.

We had a geologist from UniSA present the problem on the Monday morning and provide technical advice throughout the week.

MISG will move to Newcastle University in 2020, with Natalie Thamwattana as the new director.

MISG 2018

The 2018 Mathematics in Industry Group workshop was held in Adelaide from 29 January – 2 February. There were four projects from three companies:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics: combining publicly available data to infer information about sub-populations
  • ElectraNet: incorporating the stochastic behaviour of new electricity generation technologies into long-term network optimisation
  • ElectraNet: how do non-sychronous power generators, such as wind turbines and photovoltaic generators, impact the stability of electricity systems?
  • Australian Lamb Company: optimising red meat cuts.

MISG was attended by about 75 delegates. Most were from Adelaide, but delegates also came from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Newcastle. International delegates were from Oxford (UK), South Korea, Japan, Spain, Turkey and Italy. About half of the delegates were PhD students.

MISG was opened by Professor Emily Hilder, director of the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia. The MISG dinner was held at the State Library of South Australia.

The venue for the next 2019 MISG will be announced here once it has been decided.

More information about MISG:

MISG 2017

MISG 2017 ran from 13-17 February 2017. It was opened by Emeritus Professor John Ockendon from Oxford University, who was instrumental in setting up study groups around the world.

We had about 65 delegates at MISG 2017, of which about one-third were PhD students. Most delegates were from Australia, but we also had visitors from the UK, Europe, Japan and Korea.

The delegates tackled four industry problems:

  • analysing the lateness of UK passenger trains
  • determining the impact of safety cameras on road crashes
  • estimating the transonic drag of projectiles
  • developing electricity control and pricing mechanisms for micro-grids.

More information:

MISG 2016

MISG 2016 ran from 1-5 February 2016. The problems included:

  • Inference in a knowledgebase (DST Group)
  • Sequencing ore extraction to control blend quality (Schneider Electric)
  • Modelling water pollutant density associated with surface water runoff (SA Water)
  • Optimisation of household PV and storage (Ergon Energy).

Thanks to everyone who contributed to a successful MISG.

Useful links:

MISG 2015

2015 was the final year of QUT’s three-year hosting of MISG, which has operated in Australia since 1984.

While the MISG will continue with a new host from 2016, QUT will continue its role during the transition to ensure industry reports are distributed, and technical reports for each project are published via ANZIAM J(E).

As the event coordination transitions to the new host, please continue to contact Associate Professor Troy Farrell for information regarding MISG 2013-2015.

QUT is honoured to have again hosted such a long-running and beneficial event for mathematicians, government and industry professionals alike, and looks forward to the continued tradition for years to come.