Survey: Special sessions in the upcoming conference

We are considering running several sessions on specific topics at the upcoming conference (being held at Massey University in Palmerston North from midday Tuesday 27 November to Thursday 29 November 2018). The topics that we are thinking about are:

  • energy and natural resources;
  • agri-tech and primary industries; and
  • healthcare.

In order to assist with our planning, both in terms of whether people can contribute presentations or simply wish to attend such a session, we would appreciate it if you could complete this short survey.

2018 Joint NZSA and ORSNZ Conference

The New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) and the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) are holding a joint conference hosted by Massey University at their Manawatu campus in 2018. This conference incorporates both the 69th Annual NZSA Conference and the 52nd annual ORSNZ Conference.

The conference presentations and other events will be held from midday Tuesday 27th November to Friday 30th November 2018. However, the ORSNZ sessions will be completed by midday Thursday, followed by an Analytics Forum event on Thursday afternoon (details to be confirmed).

Plenary Speakers

The following plenary speakers have been confirmed for the conference:

Stefan Nickel –  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology;
Ilze Ziedins – University of Auckland;
Alan Welsh – Australian National University; and
Jean Yang – University of Sydney.

You can find additional details here.

Call for Papers

On August 1 2018, you will be able to register and submit an abstract for the 2018 Joint NZSA and ORSNZ Conference. We welcome presentations on any aspect of operations research, analytics or management science, especially practical applications.

Submissions from students and practitioners are greatly encouraged. Abstracts should be submitted using the format outlined here.

Oral presentations will be 20 minutes in length with additional time for questions. All abstracts will be considered by the conference committee, and the authors notified of their acceptance or otherwise.

Note that the abstract submission deadline is October 1. You may additionally submit a full paper to ORSNZ, by November 15, to have it included in the online proceedings; please follow these guidelines.


Early bird registration closes on November 1. Please see this page for details about the registration fees.

Note that the ORSNZ and NZSA are hosting separate dinners, and there is a separate (additional) fee for each.

ORSNZ Young Practitioners’ Prize (YPP)

OR practitioners and students who are within 5 years of graduation on the first day of the conference (27 November) are invited to compete for $1000 of prizes in the ORSNZ Young Practitioners’ Prize competition. When registering for the conference, competitors should request that their paper be entered for the YPP. Note that a full paper, following these guidelines, must be submitted to ORSNZ by November 15 in order enter the YPP. For further details about the YPP, see here.

ORSNZ Special Interest Groups

At the ORSNZ AGM in December Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were approved. The following SIGs have been established:

Each of these SIGs has its own website, and you can opt-in to receiving news and information about upcoming events. (Generally, all news and events from ORSNZ and the SIGs that you subscribe to will be integrated into a single email.)

Signing up for News and Events

To sign up for the ORSNZ mailing list click here; however, if you’re already signed up, you can ‘update your preferences’ by clicking the link at the bottom of any email you’ve received from ORSNZ. (By checking ‘ORSNZ’ you will receive notifications of news and events posted on the main ORSNZ website, and you can select to receive news from as many SIGs as you like.)

Upcoming events

Note that the ENR SIG is supporting an event with a seminar by Prof. Michael Ferris in Wellington on March 21. You can find more detail about the event here.

Also there are two seminars in Auckland next week, the first on March 7: Queueing Models for Healthcare Capacity Planning by Peter T. Vanberkel, and the second on March 9: Computational Modelling and Data Science by Simon Dunstall.

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)