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OPTIMISING FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

26-06-2017
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Australia is swiftly heading towards another industrial revolution, with the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors set for major change within the next decade, according to Biarri Energy, Mining, and Infrastructure (EMI) Lead and AMSI Optimise speaker, Dan Sutherland.  

“We will see more change in the next five years than the past thirty. The challenge for the EMI sectors will be to keep up with the changing environment and new workforce requirements,” he says.

This warning comes as optimisation leaders gather in Melbourne to fast-track research-industry collaboration and address practical optimisation challenges at the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s (AMSI) newest flagship training event, AMSI Optimise. In its first year, the event includes a three-day conference and two-day workshop.

Launching the event at a business breakfast, Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples said now was the time for research and industry to harness the power of innovation and prepare for a rapidly changing future.

“AMSI’s Optimise conference is a fantastic opportunity for industry to connect with optimisation experts and together solve key business problems and identify new ways to drive efficiency. The conference will highlight the growing importance of optimisation, lead to new industry research collaborations, and grow our capabilities by providing postgraduate students with opportunities to apply their skills to real-world problems,” she says.

For Biarri, the future is already colliding with the present, the commercial mathematics company delivers optimisation solutions to industry (most recently LNG) to increase safety, productivity and revenue while delivering cost and waste reductions.

“As well as logistics solutions such as scheduling to transport load consolidation, our work with EMI often focuses on challenges such as long-term mine design, planning and utilities (e.g. water) flow optimisation,” says Dan.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Computer Sciences Professor Stephen Wright, who will also speak at the event, says industry has taken the lead on the optimisation revolution.

“Engineers and practitioners have embraced optimisation’s usefulness as a prism through which to view important problems and the effects of various decisions – a vital ‘what if’ capability,” says Professor Wright.

The beauty of using optimisation for decision making, says Dan, is that it can help change the operating dynamic from “the way it’s always been done” to “it’s the most efficient way to operate”.

This is essential as rapid change and advancement forces us to respond to the unknown at a sprint. For Director of AMSI Professor Geoff Prince, this makes for an exciting time for maths and optimisation and the addition of AMSI Optimise to the Institute’s flagship program.

“Optimisation is essential to Australia’s future economic competitiveness and security. This much-needed research-industry collaboration platform will drive new innovation and secure future capability,” says Professor Prince.

As the Institute gears up for an expansion of its internship program, this event will also create new opportunities for postgraduate research students to engage with industry.

Jointly sponsored by AMSI, the Department of Education and Training, Monash University, Maxima and Optym, AMSI Optimise is part of the Institute’s Securing Australia’s Mathematical Workforce project. Other events include, AMSI Summer School, AMSI BioInfoSummer, AMSI Winter School and the Vacation Research Scholarship Program.

amsi.org.au

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