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Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-1

Professor Ryan Loxton Mathematics in Industry: Optimisation in Action —
Unlocking Value in the Mining, Energy, and Agriculture Industries

Professor Ryan Loxton
Curtin University of Technology

A joint public lecture held as part of the Mathematics in Industry Study Group and supported by the Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW, the University of Newcastle,the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Division of the Australian Mathematical Society, and the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Conference Sponsorship Program.

Date: Friday, 31 January 2020, 5pm for 5.30–6.30pm
Venue: The University House, University of Newcastle (City Campus), 300 King Street, Newcastle, NSW
Entry: Free
Registration: through Eventbrite

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 and academia can be overcome.

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 corporates. In particular, Ryan’s ARC grants include two prestigious, highly competitive fellowships—an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship during 2011–14 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 Division (ANZIAM) as the outstanding researcher of the year, and the 2014 West Australian Young 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.

Calendar of Sydney meetings in 2019

Wednesday 6 February

1270th OGM and open lecture: 2018 Scholarship presentations

Evelyn Todd, University of Sydney

“Using genetics to improve athletic performance in throughbred horses”

Fiona McDougall, Macquarie University

“Human-associated bacteria and antibiotic resistance in grey-headed flying foxes”

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 25 February

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies

“Nuclear energy as an option for Australia?”

Helen Cook, GNE Advisory

Venue: Allens, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place, 126 Phillip Street, Sydney

Time: 7.15 ‒ 9am

Tuesday 26 February

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Speaking of music"

“Jazz and democracy”

Dr. Wesley J. Watkins IV

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 6 March

1271st OGM and open lecture

“Using genomics to conserve Australia's biodiversity”

Professor Katherine Belov FRSN, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 21 March

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Mary Shelley, scientist, and Frankenstein”

Suzanne Burdon

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 April

AGM and 1272nd OGM and open lecture

Address by ex-President: “Measuring what we can: or how to lose weight on May 20th”

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN, School of Chemistry, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 5.45 for 6pm start of AGM. Open lecture and OGM 6.30pm

Thursday 2 May

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Ada Lovelace, without whom we might not have computers”

Susannah Fullerton OAM FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Friday 10 May

Annual dinner of the Royal Society of NSW

Guest of honour: Her Excellency Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW

Presentation of awards for 2018

Distinguished Fellow's address: Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons FRS FAA DistFRSN FTSE, School of Physics, UNSW
“The new field of atomic electronics”

Venue: Swissotel, 48 Market St, Sydney

Time: 6.15 for 7pm

Wednesday 5 June

1273rd OGM and open lecture

“This talk may cause side effects: nocebo effects in medicine”

Dr Kate Faasse, School of Psychology, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 20 June

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

“Climate change and our life support system”

Professor Lesley Hughes, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 3 July

1274th OGM and open lecture

“Past, present and future of polymers: is the plastics age over?”

Professor Robert Burford FRSN, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 18 July

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and science"

Visual perception in aboriginal art

Emeritus Professor Barbara Gillam FASSA FRSN, School of Psychology, UNSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 7 August

1275th OGM and open lecture

“Democracy under challenge: how can we restore a sense of citizenship?”

Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN, Chancellor, Western Sydney University

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Monday 12 August

National Science Week: talk 1

“Aboriginal astronomy”

Dr Ragbir Bhathal FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Tuesday 13 August

National Science Week: talk 2

“Unexpected results – Australian science to 1950”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Wednesday 14 August

Poggendorff lecture

“Cereal killers: how plant diseases affect food security”

Professor Robert F. Park FTSE FRSN, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Venue: Level 5 Function Room, Building F23, University of Sydney

Time: 5:30 for 6pm

Thursday 15 August

National Science Week: talk 3

“Machine aesthetics of the human body”

Dr Josh Harle

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 12.30pm to 1.30

Thursday 15 August

National Science Week: talk 4

“Computer modeling of epidemics”

Professor Mikhail Prokopenko

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Time: 6pm for 6.30

Wednesday 4 September

1276th OGM and open lecture

“Physicians as public intellectuals: Indonesian physicians in the Dutch East Indies”

Professor Hans Pols, School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 19 September

Clarke lecture (as part of a UNSW Faculty of Science event)

Sci-Fi Series — Future Planet

Professor Emma Johnston AO FRSN, Dean, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Venue: Australian National Maritime Museum (Tasman Light Gallery and Theatre), 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour Sydney

Time: 5.30 - 7.30pm (3 speakers, including Prof. Johnston)

Monday, 23 September

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“Electricity, astronomy, and natural history: from colonial Sydney to Royal Sweden, and a ladies academy in-between”

Anne Harbers FRSN

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 2 October

1277th OGM and open lecture

“Other minds”

Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith, School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 17 October

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“Women at the Frontiers of Biotech”

Professor Susan Pond

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 6 November

1278th OGM and open lecture

“The beginning of weather forecasting: Matthew Maury, Robert FitzRoy FRS and L. F. Richardson FRS”

Professor Herbert Huppert, Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, University of Cambridge

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Thursday 7 November

Royal Society of NSW and Four Learned Academies Forum

“Making SPACE for Australia”

Venue: Government House, Sydney, NSW

Time: tba

Thursday 21 November

RSNSW/SMSA joint series "Women and Science"

“An accidental radio astronomer”

Emeritus Professor Anne Green FRSN, School of Physics, University of Sydney

Venue: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

Wednesday 4 December

1279th OGM and open lecture

Royal Society of NSW 2019 Jak Kelly Award and Christmas party

Jak Kelly Award winner (tba)

Venue: State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Time: 6 for 6.30pm

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