Applied Math Practices (AMP21) Events

Prof. Kenneth Chelst and Prof. Thomas G. Edwards from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan are hosting a series of free professional development workshops for high school teachers on mathematical modelling and algebra.

You can find out more details about, and register for the events at the links below. The final date for registrations differ for each event.

Mathematical Modelling – 22 February
Percentages and Algebra – 23 February

Mathematical Modelling – 28 February
Percentages and Algebra – 2 March

Percentages and Algebra – 8 March

You can also find out more about Kenneth and Thomas here.

VUW Seminar: Insights from a Simulation Model of Disaster Response

The School of Management at Victoria University is hosting the following seminar on Thursday, 1 February 2017 from 12.30 – 1.30pm.

Title: Insights from a Simulation Model of Disaster Response

Speaker: Prof. Jose Julio Gonzalez from the Centre for Integrated Emergency Management, University of Agder, Norway

Location: RH207, Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, Wellington

Disasters do not follow scripts and the literature strongly indicates that management of disasters requires the responder team to act as “emergent organization”.

The talk presents a system dynamics simulation model of the management of a major landslide that occurred 2005 in Norway as an outlier of Katrina. The model describes a disequilibrium-experimenting-emergence process, whereby the responder team manages the disaster as an emergent organization, proceeding from disequilibrium, to experimentation to self-organization.

A feedback analysis of the system dynamics model shows that a set of vicious reinforcing feedback loops caused by following standard organizational procedures initially increases errors in response. Eventually learning and sensemaking in an improvisation/experimentation process leads to new emergent dynamics, whereby the loops act virtuously.

We discuss to what extent the model can describe large scale disaster responses of different types and how it relates to the wider disaster response literature. We discuss what types of levers, such as policies and training, are available to decrease the vicious loops and speed the transition from errors to successful innovation.

Presenter: Jose Julio Gonzalez is Professor for Information and Communication Technology at the Department for ICT, University of Agder, Norway. He also was adjunct professor 2005-2017 at the Centre for Cyber and Information Security, NTNU Gjøvik, Norway. He has a doctor degree in natural sciences (mathematical physics) and a doctor degree in technology (polymer science). He has published in various areas of natural sciences, technology and social sciences. Since 1999, his areas of interest are security management, management of emergencies and critical infrastructure protection, where he has led and cooperated successfully in various international projects. He led the project “A Model-based Approach to Security Culture (AMBASEC)”, running 2005-2010, concerned with protection of Norwegian offshore oil & gas infrastructure. In addition, he has participated as PI in several EU projects funded by CIPS, FP7 and Horizon2020. Currently he acts as scientific coordinator for the EU Horizon2020 project Smart Mature Resilience During the last two years he has collaborated with Auckland University of Technology in a project targeting Disaster eHealth. He was founding director of the Centre of Integrated Emergency Management ( at the University of Agder 2011-2014. Dr Gonzalez was awarded the Research Prize from the Agder Academy of Science and Letters in 2012 for his research on Critical Infrastructure Protection, crisis and disaster management and security.

This will be followed by refreshments.


Any queries please email: or

Winners of the Inaugural John Andrew George Memorial Prize

At the 2017 ORSNZ the first John Andrew George Memorial Prizes were awarded. This prize was established by Grant Read, Vicky Mabin, Bob Cavana, and John Buchanan in memory of former ORSNZ Vice President John George, who passed away in November last year.

While most OR projects are expected to deliver “benefits” of various kinds, the emphasis here is not on purely economic, or even purely environmental, benefits, but on efforts to better the lives of others.  It is thus about the motivation, heart and soul of the project.  So the key consideration was be the following question:

“How will this work contribute to improving the quality of people’s lives, particularly those who may otherwise be vulnerable or disadvantaged, now, or in future?”

This prize was open to all papers presented for the YPP, and was awarded jointly to:

Samuel Ridler – Ambulance simulation and optimisation; and
Samin ArefComputing the frustration index in signed graphs using binary programming.

Left to right: Samuel Riddler (JAG Award Winner), Grant Read, Vicky Mabin, Bob Cavana (judges), and Michael O’Sullivan (ORSNZ President).

ORSNZ Hans Daellenbach Prize awarded to Prof. Vicky Mabin

At the 2017 ORSNZ Conference Prof. Vicky Mabin was awarded the Hans Daellenbach Prize. Part of the citation is given below:

We have great pleasure in announcing that Professor Victoria Jane Mabin, from Victoria University of Wellington, has been awarded the ORSNZ Hans Daellenbach Award for outstanding contributions to Operational Research in New Zealand. This award is made particularly for “Applied OR”, and Professor Mabin has been active not only as an academic but, along with her students, in a variety of applied contexts, for over 30 years. She has also been an active contributor to the OR Society, of which she is a Past President.

You can find the full citation, along with her CV on the ORSNZ Prizes page.

From left to right: Prof. Vicky Mabin, Prof. Grant Read, Dr Michael J O’Sullivan, and Bob Cavana.


Young Practitioner’s Prize Winners 2017

At the 51st ORSNZ Conference held in December 2017, we had 14 entries into the Young Practitioner’s Prize, which was sponsored by Trustpower. There were three prizes awarded:

  • 1st Place: Oscar Dowson – SDDP.jl: a Julia package for Stochastic Dual Dynamic Programming
  • 2nd Place: Thomas Adams – Balancing Physician Workloads Under Uncertain Admissions
  • 3rd Place: Isaac Cleland – Solving a Generalised Staff Rostering Problem

Dr Michael J O’Sullivan (ORSNZ President) and Mr Danny Tsai (Trustpower) present YPP certificates to Oscar Dowson (left), Thomas Adams (middle), and Isaac Cleland (right)