ASOR News - July 2020

IFORS and ASOR Conferences

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic both the International Federation of OR Societies IFORS 2020 conference in South Korea and the Asia-Pacific OR Societies APORS 2021 conference in the Philippines have been postponed by a year, to 2021 and 2022 respectively.

ASOR is a member society of APORS, and APORS is one of the four IFORS regions, where the others are ALIO (Association of Latin-Iberian-American Operational Research Societies), Europe and NORAM (North America).

To compensate for the postponement, IFORS is holding a series of Global Webinars starting on 29 July (see and APORS will hold an APORS Online Conference on September 23-24, 2020. The APORS online conference theme is OR: Continuing Relevance in Challenging Times. There will be 4 plenary speakers from each of the IFORS regions, including one from the ASOR National President, and there are also contributed talks for which registrations will open soon.

Opportunity to Present at the APORS Online Conference.

APORS has offered us two complementary registrations for ASOR members to present at the APORS Online Conference in September 2020. These presentations will be 15 minutes duration with 5 minutes for Q & A. ASOR must select the presenters and send their presentation abstracts to the conference organizing committee by 15 August 2020. To this end, ASOR invites you to nominate to be one of our two sponsored presenters: please send a presentation title, (maximum 250 word) abstract, and (maximum 150 word) bio to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before midnight on Wednesday 12 August 2020. A selection committee formed from ASOR National committee members will then select from the nominated presenters based on: (i) relevance of the topic to the conference theme, (ii) originality and/or excellence of the work as conveyed by the abstract, and (iii) reflecting with the selection of speakers some of the diversity in ASOR's composition.

ASOR Thursday Afternoon Seminars

By video conference (VC) in June, July and August. VC details to be provided via the ASOR mailing list each week.

ASOR is pleased to announce a new seminar series on OR topics that we are running on Thursday afternoons at 4.30pm for 30 minutes duration. We record these sessions with the presenters' permission, and post the recordings on vimeo with links from the ASOR website. Two of the earlier presentations (from 2 July and 9 July) have already been posted.

See ASOR Seminars

ASOR Awards 2020

ASOR has two annual awards, the ASOR Ren Potts Medal and the ASOR Rising Star Award. Nominations are assessed by a panel that is appointed by the ASOR National Committee.

The ASOR Ren Potts Medal is intended to recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions to theory or practice of OR in Australia. Past Recipients include Kate Smith-Miles (2019), Peter Taylor (2016) and Leonid Churilov (2015). The award may be presented for a major development in theory, application of OR in an industry or for any other reason considered worthy by the ASOR National Council. The award can be given to an individual or a group of persons, or to an organization.

The aims of the ASOR Rising Star Award (RSA) are to: (i) acknowledge and encourage promising early career researchers in Operations Research; (ii) help promote the advances to Operations Research due to early career researchers; (iii) improve the competitiveness of starting Operations Researchers in their career paths in industry and/or academia. Researchers may be eligible to be nominated if they have been awarded a PhD within five years, or if they have submitted their PhD thesis and are awaiting examination. Exceptions to the five year limit can be made to allow for significant interruptions to research activity. The 2015 recipient of the RSA was Dr Hassan Hijazi from Data61/ANU, the 2016 recipient was Dr Sondoss El-Sawah from UNSW, the 2017 recipient was Dr Ali Eshragh, the 2018 recipient was Dr Sanjoy Paul, and the 2019 recipient was Dr Zahra Hosseinifard.

Nominations for both of these awards are now open until close of business on 23 October 2020. For further information please visit the ASOR website.

ASOR Social Media

This email list now has over 1000 subscribers. ASOR also has a Twitter account @ASOR_news and LinkedIn group . The traffic on the social media accounts is sporadic, even though these are places where great conversations could happen. We encourage you to spark up some discussions and conversations involving our social media accounts.

ASOR News - October 2019

ASOR National Conference at MODSIM/ASOR/DORS 2019

Both the ASOR Annual National Conference and DORS (the Defence OR Symposium) are part of MODSIM again in 2019. This year the conference is being held in Canberra from 1-6 December. Submissions closed back in August and registration remains open (time is very much running out for any authors/presenters to get around to registering, before their speaking slot is removed from the schedule).

ASOR's plenary speaker and special guest is Jerry Brown: Gerald G. Brown, Ph.D., is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he has taught and conducted research in optimization and optimization-based decision support since 1973, earning awards for both outstanding teaching and research. His military research has been applied by every uniformed service, in areas ranging from strategic nuclear targeting to capital planning. He has been awarded the Barchi, Mennekin, Rist, and Thomas prizes for military operations research, is credited with guiding investments of more than a trillion dollars, and has earned the INFORMS President and Steinhardt Prizes for lifetime achievements. He has designed and implemented decision support software used by the majority of the Fortune 50, in areas ranging from vehicle routing to supply chain optimization. His research has earned patents and appears in scores of open-literature publications and classified reports, some of which are seminal references. Brown is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, a recipient of two US Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medals, and an INFORMS Fellow.

ASOR will once again offer a Student Presentation Prize for the ASOR/DORS stream at the conference. Students, please do make sure we know you are in contention, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before the conference. We are good, but not perfect, at identifying who is and isn't a student based on the conference program. Three aspects with equal weight - presentation style, presentation structure, and presentation scientific/technical content - will form the basis of our selection of prize winner.

See for more information about the conference, plenaries and events.

ASOR General Meeting during the ASOR National Conference 

ASOR will hold a General Meeting in the late afternoon on one of the days of the MODSIM/ASOR/DORS conference. The date is subject to scheduling by the conference organising committee, but is very likely to remain at the currently-scheduled time of 6pm Monday 2 December. In keeping with custom, the meeting will consist of a President's Report, Treasurer's Report, and a discussion of matters of relevance to ASOR. One of these matters in 2019 will be proposed changes to the ASOR Constitution (see later in the newsletter). Teleconferencing is unlikely to be available for this meeting, we are sorry to say.

Science Meets Parliament

Science meets Parliament (SmP) 2019 is quickly approaching. As an STA Member, ASOR may send up to 2 delegates to SmP. More details, including the program and link to register can be found at If you wish to attend as a guest delegate of ASOR, please register your interest with ASOR by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 30 October 2019.


Sci+Tech in the City

ASOR is once again joining with Risklab and Data61 to present Sci+Tech in the City, from Data61's facility in Docklands, Melbourne.

  •  31 October 2019 – OPTIMISATION AND DATA SCIENCE, with speakers Phil Kilby, Hamideh Anjomshoa and Simon Dunstall.
  •  14 November 2019 – HEALTH AND HUMAN BIOLOGY, with speakers including Matthew Sinnott from CSIRO.
  •  28 November 2019 – IoT, ANALYTICS AND SENSING, with speakers including Nikhil Garg (CSIRO) and Andrew Walsh (Ind.T).

Registration (free) is essential because we consistently reach the venue's capacity, and registration is via EventBrite. Tickets for an upcoming event are released on the Monday two weeks prior to the event. The 31 October event is already 70% subscribed, so get in quickly. See the website for further details.

OR Melbourne Meetup

A new event in the ASOR Melbourne calendar is a discussion meetup on all things OR and Analytics. The first of these will be on Wednesday 6 November 2019 from 5pm to about 6.30pm, at 710 Collins Street, Melbourne Docklands. We will settle into a pattern and format over time, but on this first occasion, Monica Barbu, Melanie Ayre and Simon Dunstall have all committed to come armed with topics and materials to seed the discussion.

The ASOR Un-Conference

This is being planned for late January, and involves short presentations on anything vaguely relevant to OR. The aim is to be interesting and enjoyable. This Un-conference is based on other Un-conferences prototyped by others. Chief organiser / chief protagonist is Rodolfo Garcia-Flores from Data61 - contact him for more information, offers of assistance, and/or suggestions.

Changes at ASOR

ASOR has a constitution and a certain legal structure. These date back several decades. We are subject to certain Australian laws and regulations for Associations. ASOR has received expert advice that tells us that our current constitution and structure must be changed in order for us to keep up with the law and regulations. This will necessitate a vote by members on either a revised or a new constitution. The ASOR National Committee is presently working with the Associations Forum (of which we are a member) to draft the revised or new constitution. Members can expect to be engaged in a information and consultation process later in 2019, and a vote in early 2020. Further information will be provided in future emails as well as at the general meeting at the ASOR National Conference in December 2019.

ASOR/DORS 2018 Proceedings

ASOR and the editors of the Springer Lecture Notes in Industrial Engineering special issue that conveys the Full Papers presented at ASOR/DORS 2018 share the concern of authors that their papers are yet to be published. The reason for this is that there are a few papers which we have had to request changes to, and iterate with authors, in order to fulfil copyright and related concerns. The issues only surface once full camera-ready copies of the papers reach Springer and are processed by them: this all being subsequent to the conference and paper finalization by the editors. We assure members that we are working to complete the full process and expect the proceedings to be published soon.

ASOR Ren Potts Medal and Rising Star Award Nominations

These have now closed, and we can report that we have several high-quality nominees. A panel appointed by ASOR National is considering the applications, and the successful recipients will be announced at the ASOR National Conference in December.

Jobs and Opportunities

Disclaimer: ASOR takes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the following. The text provided by the third parties has been edited by ASOR to match the style of this newsletter. Potential candidates must seek information directly from the institution(s) and should not rely on the information provided by ASOR. ASOR is providing this information as a service to members, and does not represent or endorse the institution(s) and potential employer(s).

Call for PhD Student - U. Wollongong

An exciting PhD scholarship is available in the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS) at the University of Wollongong, South Western Sydney campus, in the area of Optimisation. The title of the project is Determining the Convergence Speed of Derivative-free Optimisation Algorithms. The UOW scholarship is AUD $28,592 per year for three years full-time. Tuition fees for international students (for up to 3.5 years) will be waived. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work with both Australian and international collaborators, and extra funding is available for conference travel.

Applications are invited from domestic and international students who are able to commence PhD studies at the University of Wollongong in 2021. Applicants should hold, or be close to completing, an Honours 1 undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics, Computational Mathematics or a closely related field. The ideal candidate will have an interest in optimisation algorithms and be happy to work with derivative-free methods. Excellent mathematical and programming skills and an interest in using them to further current research are essential. Self-motivation, a strong research potential and good oral and written communication skills are indispensable qualities the winning candidate will have.

The successful applicant will learn about Nonsmooth Optimisation techniques that do not use gradient information. Instead, they use approximations of gradients and are termed Derivative-free methods. In particular, the recently developed Derivative-free VU-algorithm (DFOVU) is of interest. The candidate will investigate, posit and prove the convergence speed and properties of the DFOVU method, comparing to the classical VU-algorithm and to other derivative-free methods. Extensive numerical testing and validation of convergence rates against similar methods is part of the research project.

If you are interested in applying for this scholarship, please contact Dr Chayne Planiden via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications must include CV detailing previous education experience and academic transcripts. It is expected that the successful applicant will be available to commence this scholarship by 31 August 2021. Applications close December 31 2020.

Research Associate/Fellow - Curtin University

Research Associate/Fellow – Optimisation and Operations Research - 3 years fixed-term
$69,800 - $94,576 (ALA) and 17% superannuation
$99,530 - $118,115 (ALB) and 17% superannuation

Curtin is building significant research capacity in the areas of artificial intelligence, optimisation, and computational methods through the establishment of the Curtin Institute for Computation, the ARC Industrial Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, and the Optus Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence. With this in mind, we are seeking a driven early-career researcher to support our existing research group in optimisation and operations research in the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing, and Mathematical Sciences.

This unique opportunity will involve research in optimisation and operations research leading to publications in international journals and practical impact through collaborations with industry partners. This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic research team with a passion for translating new mathematical results into real-world outcomes. The role will involve:
•    Collaborating with industry partners to develop new optimisation theory and algorithms to solve optimisation problems in practical applications;
•    Publishing high quality journal articles;
•    Supervising honours and post graduate students; and
•    Participating in grant applications for research funding.

You will bring to this role
•    A PhD in optimisation or operations research with a strong record of publications in high-quality international journals in these areas.
•    Prior experience working with industry and/or other disciplines, preferably on funded projects.
•    Demonstrated ability to conduct innovative research
•    Ability to work with a broad range of people from varying research backgrounds and evidence of strong oral and written communication skills
•    Excellent computing skills and experience working with relevant programming languages and platforms such as Julia, Python, and AIMMS
•    A record of active participation and presentations at major international conferences in optimisation and operations research
•    Demonstrated ability to work independently under minimal supervision while contributing to overall team performance and proven ability to meet performance deadlines

Curtin University offers a competitive remuneration and benefits package, a friendly and collaborative work environment, generous leave entitlements, flexible working arrangements, a relocation allowance, generous superannuation, salary-packaging arrangements including childcare, and the potential to support dual-career arrangements.

For more information contact Professor Ryan Loxton, Curtin University (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Oops! For several months we have neglected to duplicate our email-based news bulletins to the website. The July 2019 email bulletin has been copied below, and we may post the preceding 2019 ones later.

ASOR News - July 2019

Submissions open for ASOR-DORS at the MODSIM 2019 Conference

Both the ASOR Annual National Conference and DORS (the Defence OR Symposium) are part of MODSIM again in 2019. This year the conference is being held in Canberra. Submissions remain open for full papers or extended abstracts. The closing date for submissions is 31 July 2019 now 14 August 2019. See for more information.

Events: Sci+Tech in the City

ASOR is once again joining with Risklab and Data61 to present Sci+Tech in the City, from Data61's facility in Docklands, Melbourne.

  • 19 July - Data Science and Optimisation in Energy
  • 1 August 2019 – CITY DATA AND CITY SENSING
  • 15 August 2019 – IMAGE AND VIDEO ANALYTICS

Registration (free) is essential because we consistently reach the venue's capacity, and registration is via EventBrite - see the website for further details.

ASOR Rising Star and Ren Potts Medal 2019

Nominations for the ASOR Rising Star Award (early career OR researchers and practitioners) and the Ren Potts Medal (lifetime achievement in the field) for 2019 are now open. Visit for more information.

Conference Reports

EURO 2019 - With over 2,500 abstracts accepted, EURO 2019 in Dublin was a very varied program.  However, the organising committee noted that around 500 of those first authors failed to register for the conference, and request that this practise be avoided to reduce the makespan and scheduling challenges for the volunteers involved. One repeating theme in the conference was diversity in OR building on the first foray in Valencia, with the EURO gold medal awarded to Prof. Martine Labbé, Computer Science Department, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; the first woman to receive the award.  There was also a panel session on the topic declared open to all gender identities and moderated by Dr Paula Carroll of the UCD Business School, with an on-going work group looking into support for ECRs and network development.

A number of keynotes and sessions addressed reconciling machine learning and operations research, given ML’s very effective marketing and a growing trend for model-free data science.  One critical aspect of this reconciliation is in recognition that several ML techniques have optimisation routines at their core, and require ongoing improvements in those methods.  Also interesting is Europe’s GDPR legislation, which has a requirement for interpretable (although not fair) decision-making.  This has the effect of rendering black box models unusable, although objectives of optimal and explainable can often be in tension.  Moreover, the ethical issues around consent for use of personal data to train ML models, and whether or not such models can continue to be used when consent is withdrawn, excited several audiences.

Let’s finish with a classic OR topic – the TSP.  Buscher et al. from TU Dresden reported on their work in operational scheduling for the travelling _factory_ problem.  Both drug production and hydrogen generation now exist as containerised manufacturing, very useful in disaster zones, so the problem of rapid feasible solutions to the problem of which locations to visit, in which order, how long to dwell at the location and how many units to dispatch, provides new twists to VRPs.  The authors claim there’s a limited literature on such problems, so opportunities abound! - Melanie Ayre, ASOR Melbourne

TRISTAN X - The tenth Triennial Symposium on Transport Analytics was held on Hamilton Island between 17 and 21 June, attracting around 120 delegates from around the world to discuss transport-related topics ranging from traffic simulation through to railway fleet planning. TRISTAN had three streams over four work days, and a middle rest day offering trips to the Great Barrier Reef and other activities. About a dozen ASOR members were present including one of our newest members (yet, still well known to many of us) Michael Forbes, one of several who played a role in attracting TRISTAN to Queensland.

Arthur Maheo presenting at TRISTAN X
Arthur Maheo presenting at TRISTAN X
Hamilton Island
Not a bad place for a conference


The University of Auckland currently has an open position for a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at their City Campus. ASOR was contacted by recruiters HainesAttract about this position, and they provided this link.

ASOR News January/February 2019

ASOR-DORS at the MODSIM 2019 Conference

Both the ASOR Annual National Conference and DORS (the Defence OR Symposium) will be part of the MODSIM conference again in 2019, which is being held in Canberra. We are very grateful to MSSANZ for inviting us to once again be part of their major event. The ASOR-DORS-MODSIM organising committee is finalizing the conference streams and sessions. ASOR and DORS will be captured within one joint stream in 2019, rather than two parallel ones. We are doing this so that the interaction between the two communities is maximised, and our sessions (within the stream) have the best selection of submissions from across ASOR and DORS. The call-for-papers for MODSIM 2019 will be issued within a few weeks.

ASOR Melbourne Annual General Meeting - 27 March 2019

The ASOR Melbourne Chapter's AGM will be held on 27 March 2019, in the Data61 Docklands Demo Room, 710 Collins St, Docklands. The AGM will commence at 5pm and be followed at 5.30pm by a seminar. ASOR will provide refreshments and we do hope to see a good number of members attend this event. More information about this event will follow during March.

ASOR-DORS 2018 Conference

The ASOR-DORS 2018 Conference in Melbourne (4-6 December) was a major success. The conference attracted 260 delegates, making it the biggest OR national conference in a very long time indeed. Although our registration fee for the three day conference was quite low, we managed to keep in the finances in the black because of the high attendance. Many people contributed to the success of the conference, but special mention must be made to our student volunteers who helped out at the registration desk.

An editorial panel headed by Andreas Ernst is completing the necessary work for the conference proceedings (of the full papers). The finished product will be delivered to Springer in late March, and delegates will receive their electronic copies later in 2019. In the meantime, the book of abstracts (which was distributed at the conference) is available on the conference website.

Sci+Tech in the City 2019

ASOR is once again joining with Risklab and Data61 to present Sci+Tech in the City, from Data61's facility in Docklands. This year we are also coupling-up with CSIRO Alumni in some of our events. Registration (free) is essential because we consistently reach the venue's capacity, and registration is via EventBrite - see the website for further details. Our first four events are: Automation and Machine Vision (21 February, sold out); Analytics for the Public Sector (7 March); Medtech Innovation (21 March); and Scientific AI (4 April).

Position on offer at Biarri

Biarri are currently advertising a Senior Operations Research Engineer position within their Biarri Rail business. The role centres on designing, developing, and applying algorithms, mathematical models, simulation and heuristic models to build planning and scheduling solutions for railways. See for information.


ASOR News - September/October 2018

As we head towards the ASOR/DORS 2018 Conference being held in Melbourne (Rydges Hotel, Parkville) between 4 December and 6 December, here's a conference and workshop update, as well as other news from across ASOR. ASOR/DORS Conference

ASOR/DORS Conference

Paper and abstract submission has now closed, and our session chairs and reviewers are working their way through 92 submissions. Whether you are a presenting or non-presenting delegate, be sure not to miss the conference, workshops and our keynote speakers:

  • Prof. John Bartholdi (Georgia Tech)
  • Dr. Lynn Booth (DST Group)
  • Prof. Rob Dell (Naval Postgraduate School)
  • A/Prof. Amy Perfors (U. Melbourne)
  • Ms. Monica Salvitti (World Food Program)
  • Prof Peter Taylor (U. Melbourne)
  • Prof. Paolo Toth (U. Bologna)
  • Prof. Don Ratliffe (Georgia Tech)

We have two ASOR workshops scheduled for 6 December. The morning workshop is on Real Options + OR and the afternoon workshop is on Last Mile Logistics.

  • The Real Options + OR workshop is being run by Geoffrey Lee from Data61, and features presentations, a panel session, and audience participation. Presenters include Margaret Armstrong, Professor at EMAp Fundacao Getulio Vargas and formerly Professor at Ecole des Mines de Paris, who will talk about using Real Options in a mining context. Registration for this workshop will open during November.
  • The Last Mile Logistics workshop is co-hosted by the conference, Sci+Tech in the City, and the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia. The centrepiece of the workshop is a 90 minute presentation and tutorial by Prof. Don Ratliffe (Georgia Tech), and we have a series of panels, discussions and audience participation set up for the second half of the workshop. Registration is now open and is required of conference delegates as well as other guests.

Sci+Tech in the City

ASOR and Data61 continue to team up to host Sci+Tech in the City every second Thursday in Melbourne, and two recent optimisation-focused instalments of S+TitC have been great successes. On 23 August 2018 the topic was HEALTH ANALYTICS AND OPTIMISATION and Leonid Churilov (University of Melbourne) gave possibly the best received Sci+Tech in the City presentation this year, talking mainly about stroke response. Vicky Mak (Deakin University) and Rajiv Jayasena (CSIRO AeHRC) also made great contributions to this excellent day. On 11 October 2018 the topic was OPTIMISATION, with a spotlight on infrastructure, matching and decision support. Our speakers were Keith Joshi (Biarri Commercial Mathematics), Semini Wijekoon (Monash University), Hansani Weeratunge (Melbourne University) and Emil Mittag (AI and ML Engineer at Orchestrated). Sci+Tech in the City has two more 2018 events: 1 November on Manufacturing and Industry4.0, and 15 November on Analytics in the Public Sector. We're then going to start planning the 2019 series, and welcome expressions of interest from potential speakers, or suggestions of topics that ASOR members might be interested in.

Biarri Applied Mathematics Conference

This year the BAM Conference will be bringing together innovators, scholars and thinkers to focus on ‘Invisible Intelligence’ and through expert presentations, lightning talks and panel discussions demonstrate how we are using optimisation and mathematics behind the scenes to keep our world moving. So basically it will allow a broad set of topics to be presented, each looking at how mathematics powers the real world around us, behind the scenes. The format of the conference will be over two days on the 20th and 21st of November. The 20th of November will be the academia day with talks from leaders in academia discussing the latest applications of their research. The 21st will be the industry day with speakers invited from Amazon, CBA, BHP, etc. Registration is via the BAM Conference Website.

Joint Seminar ASOR and Melbourne's Clojure User Group

On Thursday 16 of August Jeremy Flagel and Laurine Rabusson presented a seminar on CSIRO Data61 Demo Lab in Melbourne's Collins St. This was a joint event between ASOR and the Clojure Melbourne Users Group, clj-melb. Jeremy and Laurine are visiting students from ISIMA (Institut Superieur d'Informatique, de Modalisation et de leurs Applications), who were placed in Data61 as Industrial Trainees. In the seminar, titled "Decision Making under Uncertainty in a Clojure Platform", Jeremy and Laurine presented their work on the development of an algorithm and platform to optimise under uncertainty, in order to provide robust, reliable operation plans of agricultural supply chains. They are developing and extending a two-stage stochastic optimisation model, which is represented mathematically as a finite set of scenarios. The software platform they are helping develop has been designed to facilitate unit testing, dimensional analysis, and preparation of documentation. Before and after the event, chaired by James Sofra from clj-melb, the members of ASOR and the Clojure users group socialised and exchanged experiences on the practice of coding and optimisation over pizzas and drinks.

ASOR News - June/July 2018

ASOR/DORS National Conference - Melbourne 4-6 December 2018

The organising of the 2018 ASOR/DORS National Conference is in full swing. The conference website is now live.

Key Dates:

  • Submission of extended abstracts or full papers: 7 September 2018
  • Notification of acceptance / review response to authors: 19 October 2018
  • Full paper revisions due: 16 November 2018
  • Conference: 4-6 December 2018 (main open sessions), 3 December 2018 (DORS closed session), 7 December 2018 (workshops)

The extended abstracts and the abstracts of full papers will be distributed and published on the ASOR website. The conference proceedings (full papers) will be published during 2019. ASOR is finalizing publication arrangements with Springer, which will see the full papers published in a second volume of Data and Decision Sciences in Action (the first volume resulted from our 2016 conference) and appear on the major literature indices.

Ren Potts Medal and ASOR Rising Star Award

As indicated in ASOR News April/May 2018, ASOR will be awarding these in 2018. Submissions will open shortly: see ASOR Rising Star Award and ASOR Ren Potts Medal. Please consider nominating colleagues or peers for these awards which recognise excellence and engagement in Operations Research in Australia. 

Sci+Tech in the City

In Melbourne, ASOR continues to be part of the Sci+Tech in the City meeting series.The well-established format of topical seminars (three or four ten minute talks each week) is continuing fortnightly between 26 July and 15 November. Registration is essential (due capacity) and is via eventbrite. See for more details.

Week Two – 09 August 2018 – SPATIAL DATA
Week Four – 06 September 2018 – THE DIGITAL HUMAN
Week Five- 20 September 2018 – SOCIAL INSIGHTS USING DATA
Week Six – 11 October 2018 – OPTIMISATION
Week Seven -25 October 2018 – FIRE
Week Eight – 01 November 2018 – MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRY 4.0
Week Nine- 15 November 2018 – ANALYTICS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

A new Sci+Tech in the City event type, similar to a meetup, is being tried on 16 August. While the details are still being worked on, the idea is to bring together data science and optimisation practitioners to talk about the techniques, software libraries and tools which we find useful and worth sharing. For the pilot on 16 August the topic is on using text analytics to augment, explain and repair quantitative data series.

ASOR News- April/May 2018

AMSI Optimise 2018

ASOR is pleased to advise members of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) event AMSI Optimise, being held 18-22 June 2018 at the University of Melbourne. AMSI Optimise is an annual networking and research-training event that aims to strengthen mathematical optimisation research engagement and its applications across industry.

This event will comprise a three-day industry-focused conference, followed by a two-day research workshop. The symposium features expert and end-user talks, international guest speakers, collaboration showcases, industry challenge sessions and tutorials. The themes of the 2018 conference are Decision Making Under Uncertainty and Humanitarian Applications.

AMSI Optimise is aimed at:

  •   anyone using optimisation, with opportunities to learn more about the current state of the art and to connect with others who have similar interests
  •   industry practitioners interested in exploring the benefits of engagement with optimisation research
  •   academics and postgraduate students wanting to better understand drivers and needs in this area

The event provides a forum to bring together people from the diverse companies and research disciplines that use and develop optimisation models and software. It provides a platform for research training and developing new collaborations in this vital area through PhD internships, research partnerships and postgraduate research projects
General information, a call for submission of abstracts, and registration details can be found on the AMSI Website.

Sci+Tech in the City

This seminar series centred on Melbourne (Docklands) and co-hosted by Data61, ASOR and Risklab, is running fortnightly during 2018. Registration is free, and a small donation on the day to the Brotherhood of St Laurence David Sier Fellowship is encouraged. Sci+Tech in the City is held every second Thursday evenings from 5:00pm to 6:30pm, starting 12 April 2018, in the Data61 Demonstration Room at 710 Collins St Melbourne. At least three and sometimes four speakers each week present on selected topics within a theme, with the talks ranging from innovation stories, to showcases of science, to demonstrations of technology.

ASOR National Conference 2018

ASOR's National Conference for 2018 will be held joint with the Defence OR Symposium (DORS), at Rydges Hotel Melbourne, 4-6 December 2018.

ASOR 2018 / DORS 2018 is the 26th National Conference of the Australian Society of Operations Research. It will be held in Melbourne from 4 to 6 December 2018.  The ASOR / DORS 2018 conference brings together research in optimisation, operations planning, informatics, operations research, defence, simulation and modelling of industrial operations, statistics and big data analytics.

Further information can be found at ASOR Conferences.

ASOR Awards

The ASOR Ren Potts Medal and ASOR Rising Star Award return in 2018. Applications will open in July 2018 and will close 28 September 2018, with the recipients announced at the ASOR/DORS 2018 Conference in December. The ASOR National Committee is presently seeking nominations for the awards selection panel, which in immediately past years has been chaired by Jerzy Filar and comprised of Jerzy, Hussein Abbass (as current National President) and Simon Dunstall (immediate past National President).


ASOR is pleased to once again join with the MODSIM Conference, this time in Canberra, 1-6 December 2019. The announcement of the conference is at MODSIM 2019 on the MSSANZ website.

Functional Programming Workshop - A Review

ASOR and Data61 organised a 3-day Functional Programming (FP) workshop in CSIRO Parkville, 29-31 of January 2018. The course was given by Tony Morris from Data61 Functional Programming Lab and his team, who came from Fortitude Valley in Queensland to promote this alternative paradigm for computer programming among Melbourne optimisation and software development communities. The course was split in an introductory track and an applied FP track, both of which enjoyed full attendance. The course was clearly a success and required no prior experience with functional programming, whose concepts were illustrated using the Haskell computer language. Attendees came from diverse backgrounds, including academics, researchers at CSIRO and universities, freelancers, web developers and general public, many of which were registered after ASOR's mailing list invitation. The teaching method was dynamic, with a brief introduction of the concepts followed by hands-on exercises and the instructors roaming the room, willing to answer questions from the audience if needed. We expect that training activities like these will benefit the optimisation community by helping them develop simpler, less error-prone code to implement their research ideas and applications, and we hope this is the first of many such events.

- Rodolfo Garcia-Flores, ASOR Melbourne

ASOR Website Changes

Andy Wong has indicated to ASOR National that he wishes to resign as ASOR webmaster. Andy has held down this role admirably for countless years. ASOR thanks Andy for his long-term contribution!

Simon Dunstall / Data61 will be taking on full responsibility for the website from now on. We have a standing invitation for contributions, content, editors and/or site maintainers to help us keep things ticking over.

Mark Wallace (Monash / Opturion) speaking at ASOR/Risklab/Data61's Sci+Tech in the City event on 3 May 2018. Other speakers on the night were Dhirendra Singh (RMIT) and Nicholas Davey (U. Melb). 

ASOR News - December 2017 / January 2018

Functional Programming Workshop

Data61 invites ASOR members to participate in a free 3-day Functional Programming workshop in Melbourne, 29-31 January 2018. This workshop is being run by the Queensland Functional Programming Lab (a Data61/CSIRO and Queensland Government initiative), and can accommodate up to 50 people (as of mid-January there are less than ten positions remaining). The workshop will be split into two tracks of focus:

1. **Introduction to Functional Programming**. This is the traditional workshop that has been run by Data61 for many years. This track is targeted toward people who have some basic programming experience, but little or no exposure to Functional Programming.

2. **Applied Functional Programming**. This is new course material that is targeted toward programmers who have become proficient with navigating Functional Programming concepts, and in particular, Haskell data structures. This course material involves writing a web application with a database backend.

Who should attend? Anyone who is interested in Functional Programming (FP) is encouraged to register.  The introductory workshop track is designed to be inclusive
and requires no prior experience with functional programming.  Each session will be instructed by team members of the QFPL and you will be using the Haskell programming language to help you along your path of FP discovery. The Applied FP track will also be instructed by QFPL team members.

Program Details:  Monday 29 January 2018 – Wednesday 31 January 2018 (9am to 5pm), at CSIRO, 343 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052

There is no cost but participants will be required to bring a suitable development machine (portable) for working through the exercises. You will also need to install the Glasgow Haskell Compiler ( version 7.8 or higher on that machine.

Please email an expression of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with cc to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as soon as possible. In your response, please address the questions below. These questions are used to ensure that your expectations are compatible with the courses (your answers will not be shared outside of the QFPL team). Q1. How would you rate your level of understanding of functional programming? and Q2. What would you hope to get out of the session?

Sci+Tech in the City 2018

The successful Thursday evenings seminar / meeting events Sci+Tech in the City, which are held in the Demo Room at Data61 Docklands (Melbourne) and are co-presented by Data61, ASOR and Risklab will continue in 2018. We are currently planning to start again in early March, with an enhanced format based on a trio of speakers every second week, and special events every other week. OR and Optimisation topics will feature throughout 2018. There is an open call for expressions of interest in speaking at Sci+Tech in the City, and for weekly topic suggestions: contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to do so.

Alan Dormer presenting at Sci+Tech in the City's Optimisation event on November 2017  Packed house in the Data61 demo room on Collins Street

Round Up of ASOR National Conference 2017 and ASOR Award Winners 2017

The ASOR National Conference 2017 was held alongside the Defence OR Symposium (DORS) within the MODSIM conference at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on the waterfront in Hobart between 3 December and 8 December 2017. The ASOR/MODSIM/DORS conference had around 1000 delegates, including approximately 50 ASOR talks. ASOR members' OR contributions were in ASOR streams and well as DORS and the mainstream MODSIM sessions. An ASOR Invited Presentation was delivered by Rodolfo Garcia-Flores, on his experiences with Constraint Programming.  The 2016 ASOR Ren Potts winner Leonid Churilov presented one of six plenary talks at the conference (on Thursday morning), and was insightful and entertaining in his talk titled The Art, Science, and Joy of Healthcare Modelling: being an important part of the effort to combat the world’s third biggest killer. He presented a broad perspective on past, present, and potential future of healthcare modelling that he has acquired from both ends of the “academic divide” over the last twenty-plus years. His special focus was on modelling work performed while contributing to the effort of combatting the world’s third biggest killer, which is stroke.

The ASOR Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday at 6pm, and an exchange of ideas about how to engage member was prominent in the discussion.

For ASOR's major annual awards, we congratulate Peter Taylor on receiving the ASOR Ren Potts Medal for 2017, and Ali Eshragh (pictured above) for receiving the ASOR Rising Star Award for 2017. ASOR members nominated multiple high-quality candidates for both of these awards, and this kept the adjudicating panel of Jerzy Filar (chair), Hussein Abbas and Simon Dunstall on their toes. The awards were presented at the conference dinner on 7 December.

The best student paper award went to Nigel Clay for Discrete time stochastic control for blood inventories. There were several other high-quality student papers/presentations. For the numerous ASOR members who attend it, the final session on Optimal Decisions under Uncertainty (stream J6) was a highlight and is hopefully indicative of the future, both in terms of who presented (mainly, several young researchers making substantial contributions to the field) and what was presented (whole-hearted and successful attempts at progressing non-deterministic optimisation and analytics). Presenters in this session included (left-to-right, top-to-bottom below) Nicolas Langrene, Monica Chen, Nicholas Davey and James Looker.

ASOR again extends its thanks to MSSANZ for their great conference organisation work and for allowing us to co-locate in 2017. We are particularly indebted to the efforts of Julia Piantadosi, Karen Moobs and David Post. It was announced in Hobart that MODSIM 2019 will be held in Canberra, and ASOR has been invited to be part of the event once more.

ASOR National Conference 2018

ASOR Melbourne will host this in December 2018. The organising committee at present consists of David Marlow, Rodolfo Garcia-Flores and Simon Dunstall.


Past News Items

ASOR National Conference 2016

Updated 14 November 2016

The 2016 ASOR National Conference will be hosted by the ASOR Canberra branch, will be joint with Defence OR Symposium (DORS), and will take place in Canberra on 16-17 November 2016. Further information is found at ASOR Conferences. ASOR gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsorship and support it is receiving from Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and CSIRO Data61 for the 2016 National Conference.


Posted 27 August 2016

ASOR is pleased to be once again joining with the MODSIM conference in 2017. This will be held in early December 2017 in Tasmania. The conference website is at

Ren Potts Medal and ASOR Rising Star Award 2016

Posted 27 August 2016

As alerted earlier in August via the email list, ASOR will be awarding the Ren Potts medal and Rising Star Award again in 2016. Nominations are currently open, and will close at the end of September. See ASOR Ren Potts Medal and ASOR Rising Star Award for further information.

Health Workshop

Updated 7 June 2016

Robert Burdett (Chairperson ASOR-Qld 2016), on behalf of ASOR, is pleased to invite members and non-members to attend our workshop on Health Care Planning and Operational Research.

The one day workshop will be held on Friday the 7th of October at the Queensland Treasury Casino from 8.30am to 5pm. Morning and afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.

Further conference details can be found on the flyer for the event

We expect everyone who attends this workshop will receive value from the program and will enjoy the atmosphere and surroundings of this first class venue.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact Robert.

Matheuristic Algorithms for Synchromodal Network Design

Updated 7 June 2016

1 Post-Doctoral Fellow and 2 PhDs required, Monash University, Melbourne.

This is an industry sponsored project focusing on integer programming optimisation methods and modelling of the movement of containers through the system between ships and the destination/origin of the containers being imported/exported. This requires consideration of:

  • Ship loading/unloading and possibly temporary storage at the port,
  • Truck and train unloading/loading at the port,
  • Routing of containers via possibly one or more inland terminals,
  • Mode choice between trains and trucks and scheduling of container movements,
  • Storage at the inland terminals as well as scheduling of loading and unloading operations.

At the strategic level, choices need to be made regarding capital investment decisions relating to truck fleet size, railing capacities, equipment for handling containers at the terminals and storage capacities. Operating this transport infrastructure in a synchromodal manner requires adaptively making decisions on timing, mode choice and route choice of container movements. Container movements are restricted by release times and due dates, that is time windows between which they must be picked up and delivered. These time windows are typically determined by customers and shipping companies and subject to change. The travel times of trucks are also likely to vary significantly during periods of congestion. Hence the need for an adaptive, synchromodal operating mode.

The project requires one Post-Doctoral Fellow and two Doctoral (PhD) students working on specific aspects of the overall problem.

If you have a background and interest in a PhD in operations research, particularly routing, scheduling problems, transportation/logistics problems, decomposition methods and/or heuristics, you should express interest in this by sending email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have a PhD in operations research and have worked in some (or all of), routing, scheduling problems, transportation/logistics problems, container terminal operations, decomposition methods and/or heuristics, and if you have a strong publications record, you should express interest in the Post-Doctoral position by sending email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ASOR Recent Advances 2016

Updated 19 May 2016

Recent Advances was held on 31 March and 1 April 2016, at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University Clayton Campus (see Recent Advances 2016 for more info).

We had two full days of presentations, as well as a welcome reception and the ASOR National AGM.

Data61's Alban Grestian presenting at ASOR Recent Advances 2016, on 1 April, about diagnosis in planning and scheduling.

MAXIMA @Monash and CSIRO Data61 provided in-kind support and significant funding for the event, and this assistance and partnership is very much appreciated by ASOR.

ASOR Melbourne AGM and Seminar

Updated 10 March 2016

The Melbourne chapter of ASOR, including representation from South Australia and Newcastle, will hold its Annual General Meeting on 16 March 2016, 3:30pm, in Room 7.84 of Building H at Monash University Caulfield Campus. Attendance by teleconference will be facilitated.

At the AGM we will present annual reports and also hold elections for 2016 office bearers.

AGM Seminar

The AGM will be followed at 4pm by a seminar by Yury Kryvasheyeu from CSIRO Data61.

Rapid assessment of disaster damage using social media activity

Could social media data aid in disaster response and damage assessment? Countries face both an increasing frequency and an increasing intensity of natural disasters resulting from climate change. During such events, citizens turn to social media platforms for disaster-related communication and information. Social media improves situational awareness, facilitates dissemination of emergency information, enables early warning systems, and helps coordinate relief efforts. In addition, the spatio-temporal distribution of disaster-related messages helps with the real-time monitoring and assessment of the disaster itself. We present a multiscale analysis of Twitter activity before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy. We examine the online response of 50 metropolitan areas of the United States and find a strong relationship between proximity to Sandy’s path and hurricane-related social media activity. We show that real and perceived threats, together with physical disaster effects,
are directly observable through the intensity and composition of Twitter’s message stream. We demonstrate that per-capita Twitter activity strongly correlates with the per-capita economic damage inflicted by the hurricane. We verify our findings for a wide range of disasters and suggest that massive online social networks can be used for rapid assessment of damage caused by a large-scale disaster.

Call for Committee Nominations

ASOR Melbourne encourages its members to nominate for the 2016 ASOR Melbourne Committee. Get involved and make a difference to your OR & Analytics commercial, industrial and R&D community. We are seeking nominations for the office bearer positions (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary),  representative positions (DSTG Representative, SA Representative, Newcastle Representative, Student Representative), and general committee positions.

Nomination forms are available at

ASOR Rising Star and Ren Potts Medal

30 November 2015, updated 17 February 2016

ASOR is proud to announce that at the first day of the ASOR/MODSIM/DORS 2015 conference on 30 November, we awarded Ren Potts medals to Erhan Kozan and to Phil Howlett, and the ASOR Rising Star Award to Hassan Hijazi. Congratulations to these three extremely worthy winners. Citations for Erhan and Phil can be found at ASOR Ren Potts Medal, and Hassan at ASOR Rising Star Award.


30 November 2015

If you're into twitter keep up with the hashtags #ASOR and #MODSIM2015. The final program for ASOR/MODSIM/DORS 2015 can be found at the MODSIM 2015 website.

September 2015 Seminar

November 2015

On 30 September 2015, Andreas Ernst presented "A retrospective of over two decades of Operations Research at CSIRO" at Monash Caulfield. Andreas explained that the Operations Research group at CSIRO was formed in the early 1990s, driven significantly by vision from Noel Barton, and in the early days included several people including Graham Mills, Mark Westcott, Mohan Krishnamoorthy and David Sier. This group has since been a significant part of the OR scene in Australia, though it is now coming to an end, to be reborn as part of the new Data61 Optimisation Group led by Toby Walsh. The talk by Andreas surveyed some key achievements over the past 20 years, in applications in hub location, rostering, and bulk material (mining) supply chains in particular, and also in nurturing and inspiring many across the Australian and international OR community. A recording of the seminar will be available on the ASOR Youtube channel:

Awards and Careers

REMINDER: ASOR Ren Potts Medal and ASOR Rising Star Award

Updated 22 September 2015

We have a current call for nominations for these ASOR-awarded achievement prizes:

Nominations close on 30 September 2015, and the awards will be presented at the ASOR/MODSIM/DORS conference in December.

PhD Scholarship Opportunities Monash-NICTA Victorian Research Lab

22 September 2015

Monash/NICTA are seeking two enthusiastic students to undertake two research topics in the area of Optimisation entitled:
1. Incremental Power Network Transformation with Uncertainty
2. Co-Optimisation of Power Network Operations and Renewable Investment
Successful scholarship applicants will be supervised by at least one NICTA affiliated academic staff member from the Faculty of Information Technology.

For detailed information see

ASOR Canberra Student Prize

24 August 2015

ASOR ACT Chapter calls for nominees for the best Operations Research (OR) Postgraduate Research Award 2015. The award aims to encourage and reward students for excellence in the OR field, and provides a forum for students to share their academic excellence and research findings. See for more information. Nominations close 7 September 2015.

Social Media and Networking

Latest YouTube Channel Additions

We've recently added:

  • The Science Foundation of Evidence-Based Policy and Decision Making, an ASOR Canberra seminar by Dr Alex Zelinsky (Chief Defence Scientist).
  • Degeneracy - Design Principle for Adaptable and Robust Complex Systems, an ASOR Wednesday seminar by Dr Axel Bender (DSTO) presenting from University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes on 20 May 2015.

Visit for our ASOR YouTube Channel

Conferences and Meetings

ASOR National Conference 2015

The ASOR National Conference 2015 is embedded within MODSIM 2015 on the Gold Coast, 29 November to 4 December 2015.

Submission of Full Papers or Extended Abstracts was due on 31 July 2015. Authors should expect peer reviews to be communicated to them in early September, and final versions of papers must be ready by 2 October to enable printing for the conference as well as for indexing by ISI.

Earlybird registration closes on 28 August, and the price rises by over $100 for standard registrations.

ASOR National AGM 2015

ASOR will hold its Annual General Meeting for 2015 during ASOR/MODSIM/DORS 2015 on the Gold Coast.

Membership and Admin Matters

President's Reports for 2013 and 2014

Updated 1 September

President's Reports, for 2013 and 2014, have been posted at ASOR Annual Reports.

Past Newsletters

From a time when we had newsletters rather than a rolling news feed...

Feb 2015


Oct-Nov 2014

This edition of the newsletter covers:

  • ASOR Recent Advances 2014
  • Information on upcoming ASOR seminars
  • Events in late 2014 and early 2015
  • People News
  • More Australian OR in the running for the Edelman Prize
  • ASOR/NICTA/Monash Seminar
  • More ...

Sep 2014

This edition of the newsletter covers:

  • ASOR Recent Advances 2014
  • Information on upcoming ASOR seminars, including
  • ASOR Rising Start Award
  • Biarri Applied Mathematics Conference 2014
  • People News
  • Forthcoming ASOR Seminars
  • Optimisation Session at AustMS 2014
  • Position at U. Newcastle
  • More ...

Aug 2014

This edition of the newsletter covers:

  • ASOR's plan for standalone and joint conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • A review of IFORS Barcelona, by Ian Monks.
  • Information on upcoming ASOR seminars, including
    1. Leorey Marquez: Application of Participatory Risk Assessment for Creating Disaster Risk Sensitive Shelter Plans (20 Aug in Vic)
    2. Rob Burdett: An Integrated Approach for Earthwork Allocation, Sequencing and Routing (15 Sep in Qld).
  • Changes in the ASOR National Executive.
  • A call for nominees for the ASOR Rising Star award (due 30/9) and ASOR Bulletin co-editors.
  • News from various parts.
  • Summer school, conference and job announcements.

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014