You will hear recent case studies and frameworks to support the implementation of strategy using operational research and business analytics. The stream aims to explore the link between strategy and OR through a keynote presentation and a set of presentations showcasing applications. The keynote presentation will review the historical contributions of OR to the development of strategies and discuss future trends. The presentations will involve applications in banking, military, public sector and future work. Attendees will learn how to use OR in strategic planning. Any industry and positions can benefit from this stream.
If you are an analyst or a consultant you will particularly enjoy this session as you will learn frameworks to support the implementation of strategy using operational research and business analytics. Plus, we will explore the relationship between strategic management and OR disciplines.
Meet the stream organisers
Dr Martin Kunc, University of Southampton
AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a huge opportunity as well as a significant concern for organisations today.
Combining the unprecedented levels of data generated in the modern world, the use of high-performance computing (e.g. distributed computing, GPUs/TPUs, etc.) and new innovations such as deep learning, AI has reached something of a golden age in recent years.
Meet the stream organisers
Michael Mortenson, University of Warwick
To be confirmed
We will take a broad view of how considering human behaviour can improve performance
If you work in the public or private sector with roles that involve judgment, decision making, forecasting, and the integration of human and machine intelligence then this stream is perfect for you.
In this session we will look at the most recent academic thinking on improving operations in practice, by considering human behaviour and in some cases at the system level, in critical events such as pandemics.
The aim of this stream is to bring together researchers and practitioners to share their knowledge and experiences in tackling combinatorial optimisation problems.
Combinatorial optimisation has been a major research area in OR for more than 50 years. Its importance is attributed to the multitude of problems having a combinatorial element that arise in a variety of industrial and public sectors.
This stream focuses on advances in algorithmic techniques for solving combinatorial optimisation problems. The problems addressed can range from classical problems such as assignment, cutting and packing, facility location, partitioning, routing, and scheduling, to newer application areas such as computational biology and machine learning.
Meet the stream organisers
Stefano Coniglio, University of Southampton
Toni Martinez Sykora, University of Southampton
Contemporary Project Management
Contemporary Project Management focuses on human, organisational, and contextual aspects of managing projects. Project management draws upon various disciplines; in the meantime, project settings have been providing opportunities for them to explore new areas for their research and practice. OR has historically remained one of the disciplines most interested in certain aspects of Projects.
Project Management (PM) has its roots in Operations Research. For decades, the two fields were hardly separable. With the rapid growth in using projects as means of running organizations, PM has extended to a multidisciplinary field with an extensive body of knowledge. Contemporary PM has attracted interests from a wide range of disciplines, including OR, and has benefited from their contributions.
OR’s special interests and focus on modelling certain aspects of projects have been widely published and presented, particularly in non-PM journals and conferences. Previous OR conferences had seen these integrated within different streams.
OR63 (to the best of our knowledge) is the first time that Project Management appears as a standalone stream.
This stream focuses on the application of mathematical modelling, analytics and operational research to inform epidemic mitigation efforts.
OR approaches have been used extensively to address the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond traditional epidemic models, decision support for COVID-19 mitigation has frequently relied on data analytics, stochastic modelling, demand forecasting, etc.
In this context, COVID-19 has highlighted the value and need for new and better models to support our health services. Key areas of application include epidemiological prediction, demand and capacity modelling, social and behavioural analysis, vaccine rollout and dealing with the suppressed demand caused by the pandemic.
Meet the stream organisers
Edilson Fernandes de Arruda, Southampton Business School
This session covers the theme of efficiency, productivity analysis and performance management.
This stream is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). It is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to share their knowledge of productivity analysis or performance management. There are several presentations on the theory, methodology and application of DEA and the keynote speaker in this stream will discuss “Recent Advances in Inverse Data Envelopment Analysis.
It is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to share their knowledge of productivity analysis or performance management.
Game theory is the study of strategic interaction among decision-makers in terms of how to cooperate or compete and the resulting overall outcomes.
Game theory originally starts with applications mostly in economics, social science and political sciences, but now includes many other fields including algorithmic game theory. The 2020 Nobel Prizes in Economics were awarded to Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson for their work on auction theory, a branch of game theory.
This stream includes talks from both the theory, computational aspects, and applications of game theory. We especially welcome real-life application of game theory.
The underlying methodologies for analysing games are mostly Operational Research related.
We are very honoured to have Prof Bernhard von Stengel from LSE to deliver the keynote talk for the stream on the topic of “Game Theory and Operational Research”.
The healthcare stream is broad in focus. It covers the full breadth of opearational research methods (including, but not limited to forecasting, simulation, optimisation, problem structuring methods, etc.) used to support healthcare-related decisions.
Talks within the Healthcare stream will cover a range of topical and priority areas, such as frailty, obesity, waiting lists, cancer diagnosis, and the numerous direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19. Various modelling approaches will be showcased in addressing these issues, including optimisation, system dynamics, queueing models and simulation.
You will find out how operational research communities both around the UK and globally are using a range of novel and established OR methods to address various problems in the healthcare domain. Attendees will learn how OR is confronting the many new problems presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and those that have been exasperated as a result.
The stream will cover a mix of talks from both the practical and theoretical angles. Academics, consultants, and practitioners should therefore find value in attending the sessions.
In this session we will look at the emerging approaches in solving problems within the area of logistics and transportation
These approaches can be theoretically focused, computationally-oriented or applications based. Exact, metaheuristics and general-purpose approaches used for automated generation of heuristics for solving single and multi-objective transportation optimisation problems and issues related to development of such approaches are also of particular interest.
This stream brings together researchers and practitioners in the field of Logistics and Transportation, presenting their latest results and findings in a fruitful and open-minded environment. The stream is perfect for anyone who works in logistics or transportation, or wants to become more informed about these topics. It comprises the planning and implementation of complex logistics and transportation tasks using computations and advanced decision support systems. Applications include vehicle routing, public transportation, airport scheduling, green transportation, and more.
This session focuses on maritime logistics, which forms the backbone of the global merchandise trade, and follows the trends and developments in the world economy.
In this session, three interrelated phenomena that reflect the direction of the industry in the 21st century, namely digitalisation, automation, and sustainability of maritime operations are discussed. Furthermore, the use of OR tools and techniques for the purpose of digitalising, automating, and greening maritime logistics are demonstrated with examples from both academia and port and shipping industries.
Digitalisation in shipping refers to the adoption of advanced telecommunication tools, smart technologies, and data analytics for better management of port and sea operations and information flows. This stream examines the development of innovative tools and the introduction of digitalisation and the automation of equipment used in ports & terminals. Port operation optimisation problems with sustainability considerations; demonstrations of digitalisation and automation tools developed in projects funded by the European Union; as well as in-depth discussions with practitioners about the current progress of selected ports towards the subject phenomena.
Finally, making shipping and port operations environmentally sustainable has become a priority for stakeholders of maritime supply chains. Shipowners, shippers, terminal operators, and regulatory bodies are embracing a mindset that encompasses environmental targets along with more traditional productivity and service quality goals. In recent decades, concepts such as “green port”, “decarbonising shipping”, and “eco-friendliness” have made their way not only into practitioners’ agenda but have also risen as important research topics in various academic fields.
How can we help others learn how to make better decisions under multiple criteria?
Multi-criteria decision making has been one of the fastest-growing subfields of operational research with its applications in diverse domains such as business, supply chain, energy, healthcare, sustainability and logistics.
In their daily lives, people usually weigh multiple criteria implicitly and may be comfortable with the consequences of such decisions that are made based on only intuition. On the other hand, when stakes are high, it is important to properly structure the problem and explicitly evaluate multiple criteria.
The session focuses on talks highlighting recent discoveries in the theory, algorithms, and applications of mathematical optimisation.
We will be discussing the works around continuous optimisation and its interactions with other fields, such as machine learning and engineering, as well as relevant tools (convex and variational analysis) and methodological techniques, including first and second order methods, and derivative free approaches.
The aim of this session is to showcase analytical work, share experiences, and explore issues that may help improve the effectiveness of the third sector OR and analysts.
The third sector consists of organisations that are not part of the private sector or public sector and plays an important, growing role in society and within some sectors of the economy.
The third sector includes a wide range of organisational forms, including charities, cooperatives, community groups and voluntary societies, each with its own governance arrangements and with a diverse range of skills, operating models, activities and beneficiaries. As such decisions and performance need to be judged against a wide range of criteria, often with levels of complexity. It therefore can present unique challenges and opportunities for analysts.
Analytical activity may include modelling for efficiency and effectiveness improvement; data analysis for increased insight, better forecasting or service design; benefits, outcomes and performance measurement; strategy development; and more.
This stream focuses on insights into teaching and learning innovations inspired by or accelerated by the pandemic
This stream examines the advances in teaching and learning of OR and Analytics we have made due to the pandemic accelerating the adoption of technologies and adaptation of traditional approaches to virtual platforms.
If you are a lecturers or a programme/course/modules lead, you will benefit from these sessions within this stream.
Reinforcement Learning (RL) is one of the hottest research topics in the interdisciplinary research subjects of operations research (OR) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Reinforcement Learning is a type of semi-supervised machine learning technique that enables an agent to learn in an interactive environment by trial and error using rewards to make sequential decisions under uncertainty. Applications of RL are widely used in the real world, including manufacturing, healthcare, trading, robotics and so on.
In recent years, we have witnessed significant developments in the theory of robust optimisation and its practice.
In particular, the distributionally robust framework has provided tractable formulations which have found applications in finance, revenue management, logistics and transportation, energy systems, and statistical learning.
This session brings together researchers from around the world to discuss the state-of-the-art developments in this field with an emphasis on applications.
Simulation affects so many aspects of our lives, with everything from healthcare to manufacturing relying on the expertise of simulation.
Many people from across the OR spectrum have stepped up to offer ways their speciality can help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those working in simulation are no different, in this session you will hear about some of the recent simulation projects.
Problem Structuring Methods (PSM) are often known as ‘Soft’ Operational Research/‘Soft OR’; the terms are used interchangeably for the purposes of this stream
Problem Structuring Methods (PSM) serve to address complex problematic situations. These methods help to ensure that all perspectives are taken into account before selecting appropriate systemic approaches to problem-solving and intervention.
Progress in ‘messy’ situations is achieved through the use of PSMs to engage stakeholders in articulating their views of the problem situation and how to address it, which provides the basis for understanding where and how stakeholders’ views differ. PSMs commonly involve the development of appropriate models for promoting a shared understanding between stakeholders, moving them towards agreement on initial commitments, which can provide a basis for action.
PSMs do not seek to generate a single, optimal solution, as they are generally founded on the assumption that different solutions will look more or less attractive depending on the purposes and values of the stakeholders. What PSMs offer instead is a useful language to support exploration and learning in the face of complexity and multiple perspectives.
Stochastic dynamic optimization is a technique for modelling and solving problems of decision making under uncertainty which is motivated by gambling game.
Bellman’s equation is usually used to capture the sequential feature of stochastic dynamic decision making and the aim is to discover a policy prescribing how to act optimally in the face of uncertainty.
This session covers operational research and analytics contributions addressing any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations.
Common OR techniques such as modelling and optimisation are invaluable when it comes to forecasting emergency service demand, optimising warehouse locations for emergency supplies or optimising disaster preparedness and disaster responses.
Many OR and Systems practitioners share a common interest in systemic intervention to address highly complex organizational, social and environmental problems.
Systems thinking can be thought of as a set of skills that are useful when undertaking OR projects. These skills include:
Exploring boundaries (who and what is in or out of the project)
Mapping interconnections (complex causality and how actions in response need to be designed)
Appreciating multiple perspectives (different things may matter to different stakeholders) and
Understanding how systems operate as complex wholes (often problems emerge from all the interacting parts of a system, and likewise solutions need to account for the functioning of the whole).
To support systems thinking in practice, many operational researchers have developed systems approaches, methodologies and methods that help guide the practitioner. Some of these are best used by an analyst whose role is to formulate recommendations for decision makers. Others can be used to structure facilitated dialogue between decision makers and stakeholders so they can produce their own recommendations.
A lot of the processes we encounter in and across organizations can be enhanced by systems thinking, including leadership, governance, strategic planning, service and policy design, project management, evaluation, foresight, scenario analysis, business modelling, innovation processes, workflow analysis, organizational design, environmental management, stakeholder engagement, community development and coaching, to name just a few.
Interest in systems thinking appears to have reached a tipping point right across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. This is because systems approaches are most often used when decision makers and their stakeholders face highly-complex and conflictual problems, and these are becoming ever more common at all scales, from local to global. It is also because agencies like the UN, WHO and OECD have all identified systems thinking as an essential skill set for current and future leaders.
We have a large stream, and to give a high profile to the applied work of both practitioners and academics, we have two stream keynotes this year. The first is from Angela Espinosa, who is an Emeritus Fellow in the Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull, and the other is from Benjamin Taylor, a prominent public sector consultant in RedQuadrant.
Whether you are a practitioner wanting to learn more about systems thinking to enhance your work, or an academic bridging applied research and teaching, this stream is for you. The application domains for systems thinking represented in the stream are very wide indeed, including public policy, building systems thinking capabilities in government, gender equality, evaluation, information system design, artificial intelligence, engineering, community development, public health, organizational resilience, school education, international development, risk analysis, health systems, climate change, COVID-19, infectious disease control and energy provision! In addition to all of these, we have many, many papers offering methodological and theoretical innovations that are transferable or adaptable across domains.
If you are looking for new ways to engage with complex problems, or want to know more about what systems thinking can offer, please browse the abstracts, pick some sessions to participate in, and engage with this exciting new wave of interest in systems thinking and practice.