Beale Lecture 2024


The Beale Lecture 2024 was a hybrid event that was broadcast live between 14:00 - 16:00 from The OR Society. Attendees had the option of attending in-person in The OR Society offices or joining virtually over Zoom. 

Chrispotts Picture

Beale Lecture

Talk Title: Reflections on Half a Century of Research in OR

Chris Potts presented some of the research highlights of his OR career, which started in 1971 when he started a PhD at the University of Birmingham on branch-and-bound algorithms for production scheduling problems. His work on scheduling continued while working as a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Keele from 1973 to 1985, and allowed him to adapt many of the advances in combinatorial optimisation to provide novel approaches for analysing and solving scheduling problems.

In 1985, was appointed as a Lecturer in Operational Research at the University of Southampton and was promoted to Professor in 2000. His scheduling research continued, although the MSc in OR at Southampton with its company-based projects broadened his research interests. For example, he has worked on OR applied in sport (cricket, football, Formula One and golf), logistics, transport (air, rail and road) and healthcare.


Chris Potts obtained a first class BSc degree in Mathematics from the University of Manchester in 1970, an MSc in Operational Research from the University of Hull in 1972 and a PhD in Operational Research from the University of Birmingham in 1974. He was employed as a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Keele during the period 1973-86. From 1986, he has worked at the University of Southampton, initially as a Lecturer in Operational Research from 1986-91, then as Senior Lecturer and Reader from 1991-2000, and lastly as a Professor from 2000-22. He is now an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton.

He is author or co-author of over 100 papers that have been published in high-quality journals. The topics covered in these papers include production scheduling, logistics, transport, healthcare and sport.

Chris has been active in the promotion of OR. He has served on various committees of the OR Society, and has been the Chair of the Southern OR Group.

Also, he was a Vice-President of EURO (the Association of European OR Societies) for the period 2003-6. He was part of the team that created NATCOR (National Taught Course Centre for Operational Research) that has provided training for doctoral students since 2008. He has run a NATCOR course in Combinatorial Optimisation at the University of Southampton on several occasions.

Pougkakiotis_image_portait (1)[91].jpg

Spyridon Pougkakiotis is Lecturer in Mathematics at the School of Science and Engineering of the University of Dundee. He received his PhD degree in Optimisation and Operational Research from the School of Mathematics of the University of Edinburgh (2022), his MSc degree in Operational Research with Computational Optimisation from the same school (2017), and a BSc in Informatics from the University of Athens (2016). Before joining the University of Dundee, Spyridon was a postdoctoral research associate at the Electrical Engineering department of Yale University (2023). His research is focused in the areas of optimisation, computational mathematics and risk-aware decision making, and their applications in data science, operational research and engineering.

Doctoral Award Winner Presentation

Talk Title: A Regularised Interior Point Method for Convex Programming

Solving complex mathematical problems efficiently is crucial in various fields. Interior Point Methods (IPMs) are commonly used techniques known for providing accurate solutions relatively quickly. However, they face challenges such as dealing with inaccurate numbers and tricky mathematical scenarios.

To overcome these challenges, researchers have explored modified versions of IPMs that demonstrate improved stability in real-world situations. Despite the success of these modifications in practical applications, a comprehensive theoretical understanding has been lacking until recently.

This presentation introduces a combination of an infeasible IPM and the Proximal Method of Multipliers (PMM), forming a method referred to as IP-PMM. This combined approach acts as a more reliable version of IPMs, specifically suited for certain types of mathematical problems. The method involves applying a few rounds of the interior point method to smaller mathematical sub-problems within the Proximal Method of Multipliers. Once a satisfactory solution is found for the sub-problem, adjustments are made, a new set of problems is formulated, and the process is repeated.

A significant aspect of the work is demonstrating that this method is not excessively time-consuming for a broad range of problems, marking a notable advancement in mathematical research. By leveraging the speed of IPMs and the stability of PMMs, the IP-PMM approach shows promise as an efficient solution.

To broaden the applicability of our approach, general strategies for efficiently solving associated mathematical problems within the IP-PMM framework will be discussed. Additionally, numerical results across various mathematical problems, highlighting the advantages of the modifications in IPMs and confirming the reliability and efficiency of the proposed IP-PMM algorithm.



Timing Schedule
2PM Introduction from The OR Society President
2.10PM Doctoral Award Winner Presentation and Q & A – Dr Spyridon Pougkakiotis
3PM Beale Award Winner Presentation and Q & A – Professor Chris Potts
3.55PM Close of event & final remarks
4PM Networking session (for those that have attended in-person)


Previous Beale Lectures

If you have never been to a Beale Lecture or have missed a previous lecture and would like to catch up, we have listed a selection here.  

Last year we had a great talk from Professor Russell Cheng, University of Southampton, on the theme of 'The Enigma of Choice – When is a Good Decision Possible?' 

We also have many more videos that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

Visit YouTube Channel Here

Operational Research through Seven Decades

2023's Beale Lecture, which was held on 16 February, covered Prof Robert Dyson's seven decade career in OR. Beginning in the 60s with work in the glass industry coinciding with a PhD at Lancaster and a first encounter with the professional membership debate.

View Prof Robert Dyson's lecture here

Multicriteria Matters

Professor Belton gave our 2022 Beale Lecture on the topic Multicriteria Matters.

View Val Belton's lecture here

The future of OR is present

Mike C Jackson OBE, Emeritus Professor at the University of Hull, gave the 2019 Beale Lecture on The future of OR is present.

View Mike Jackson's lecture here

The fitness and survival of the OR profession in the age of artificial intelligence

Richard Ormerod delivers the Beale Lecture for 2018 on The Fitness and Survival of the OR Profession in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

View Professor Ormerod's Beale Lecture

Opening talk: Heterogeneous location and pollution-routing problems

Dr Çağri Koç gave the opening talk entitled Heterogeneous Location and Pollution-Routing Problems but, before he did so, President John Hopes presented him with his award.

View Dr Çağri Koç's Doctoral talk here
Martin Beale

Memorial Lecture for one of OR's true greats

The OR Society’s Beale Medal is awarded each year in memory of the late Martin Beale.

Evelyn Martin Lansdowne Beale FRS (8 September 1928 – 23 December 1985) was an applied mathematician and statistician who was one of the pioneers of mathematical programming.

Most of Beale’s papers on particular calculations and on particular techniques are noted by amongst others, The Royal Statistical Society, the ORS and the Royal Society as “substantial contributions to knowledge”

Known as Martin Beale, he is probably best remembered for his constant and active interest in the development of mathematical programming systems for applying optimisation algorithms in OR practice.

He once said of OR, that “The most important part of Operational Research is educated common sense, and computers have absolutely no common sense”, but he planned his systems so well that this defect of computers was negligible.

He was one of the first scientists to encourage open publication of useful discoveries.

More details can be found in this short biography of Martin Beale.