Save the dates: ORSNZ Conference 2021

The ORSNZ Annual Conference for 2021 will be held at the University of Auckland from on Thursday 25 November and Friday 26 November 2021.

A conference programme will be announced by the end of August.

The Easychair platform is set up for Abstract submissions (the submission deadline is 1 November).

We are planning to have sessions on healthcare modelling, energy and emissions policy, and digital twins. If you are interested in organising a session, with (approximately) four presentations around a common theme, please contact the conference organisers at [email protected] by August 31.

Please see the conference website for further details.

Upcoming abstract deadlines for IFORS and INFORMS conferences

The submission deadline for abstracts for the IFORS conference, being held online August 23-27, is Friday May 14. You can find the details here.

The INFORMS annual meeting will be held October 24-27 in Anaheim, California (there is also a virtual registration option). The deadline for abstract submissions is Saturday May 15. You can find the details here.

WiDS Worldwide Conference

On March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day, Women in Data Science will host the inaugural 24-hour online Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide conference. Registration is now open and early bird pricing is in effect through February 19, 2021. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For more details see the official announcement here:

Interpretable AI & Women in Data Science

The ORSNZ is sponsoring an event next Monday (10 February 2020) with two international experts in the field of data science and machine learning. This is being hosted at the University of Auckland, as a NZ Data Science + Analytics Forum event.

The event will be held from 3:45pm-6:00pm in the Neon Lecture Theatre in Engineering (401.439) at 20 Symonds Street. There will be pizza and drinks provided after the presentations.

Parking is available in the Owen G Glenn Building (OGGB) carpark accessed via Grafton Road, opposite Stanley Street.

The event is free of charge and kindly sponsored by the University of Auckland and the Operations Research Society of New Zealand.


Professor Margot Gerritsen from Stanford University is the co-director and co-founder of the global Women in Data Science (WIDS) phenomenum. Started as a conference at Stanford in November 2015, WiDS now includes a global conference with approximately 150+ regional events worldwide and a datathon, that encourages participants to hone their skills using a social impact challenge. Professor Gerritsen is also the host of the very popular WIDS podcasts featuring leaders in data science talking about their work, their journeys, and lessons learned.

Professor Dimitris Bertsimas has consulted widely in a variety of industries and has co-founded several very successful Analytics/AI startups. These include Dynamic Ideas (subsequently sold to American Express) which developed machine learning methods for asset management, D2 Hawkeye, a data mining health care company specialising in machine learning, and most recently P2 Analytics LLC, a consulting company and Interpretable AI, a machine learning company. Professor Bertsimas’ talk will focus on this latter work where he is building AI solutions that are human explainable. The benefits of using models, such as decision trees, that humans can interpret are well recognised. However, these models have often given poor performance when compared with black-box approaches. The dominant approaches for generating interpretable models were developed in the 80s, when computing power was limited. Bertsimas’ work is leveraging advances in modern optimization to revisit these approaches, delivering models that are both high performing and interpretable.

Come along and hear from these two international leaders in data science and artificial intelligence.


Professor Margot Gerritsen, Stanford University, USA

Professor Gerritsen was born and raised in the Netherlands. After receiving her MS degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of Delft, she moved to the U.S. in search of hillier and sunnier places. In 1996 she received her Ph.D. in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics at Stanford University. Before returning to Stanford in 2001, she spent nearly five years in Auckland, New Zealand as a faculty member in the Department of Engineering Science.

Professor Gerritsen is a professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford, interested in computer simulation and mathematical analysis of engineering and natural processes. From 2010 to 2018, she directed the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering ( Since 2015, she has been the Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, as well as the co-director of Women in Data Science (WiDS, and the host of the WiDS podcasts.

Professor Dimitris Bertsimas, MIT, USA

Professor Dimitris Bertsimas is currently the Boeing Professor of Operations Research, the Associate Dean of Business Analytics at the Sloan School of Management, MIT. He received his SM and PhD in Applied Mathematics and Operations Research from MIT in 1987 and 1988 respectively. He has been with the MIT faculty since 1988. His research interests include optimization, machine learning and applied probability and their applications in health care, finance, operations management and transportation. He has co-authored more than 200 scientific papers and five graduate level textbooks. He is the editor in Chief of INFORMS Journal of Optimization and former department editor in Optimization for Management Science and in Financial Engineering in Operations Research. He has supervised 72 doctoral students and he is currently supervising 25 others.

Professor Bertsimas is a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 2005, an INFORMS fellow, and he has received numerous research and teaching awards including the John von Neumann theory prize for fundamental, sustained contributions to the theory of operations research and the management sciences and the president’s award of INFORMS recognizing important contributions to the welfare of society, both in 2019, the Morse prize (2013), the Pierskalla award for best paper in health care (2013), the best paper award in Transportation (2013), the Farkas prize (2008), the Erlang prize (1996), the SIAM prize in optimization (1996), the Bodossaki prize (1998) and the Presidential Young Investigator award (1991-1996).

Professor Bertsimas has consulted widely in a variety of industries and has cofounded several very successful companies. In 1999, he co-founded Dynamic Ideas, LLC, which developed machine learning methods for asset management. In 2002, the assets of Dynamic Ideas were sold to American Express. From 2002-2010, he was the head of the quantitative asset management group of Ameriprise Financial, responsible for $12 billion of assets. In 2001, Bertsimas cofounded D2 Hawkeye, a data mining health care company and responsible for its machine learning capabilities. The company was sold to Verisk Health in 2009. In 2011 he cofounded Benefits Science Technologies LLC, a company that designs health care benefits, Savvi Financial LLC, a financial advice company and Alpha Dynamics LLC, an asset management company. In 2015 he cofounded P2 Analytics LLC, a consulting company and in 2018 Interpretable AI, a machine learning company.

ORSNZ Conference Planning 2020

We are starting to think about the location and timing of this year’s conference.

In terms of the 2019’s conference: we found that that having sessions based around research topics (rather than YPP / non-YPP) went well; however, in future it would be great to be able to conclude the conference with an analytics forum (or similar) event / drinks, rather than have that on the same night as the dinner.

We think that last year’s conference went well by ourselves, but for organisational reasons, would prefer to align with other conferences, where appropriate.

We are conducting a survey to see what other societies are hosting conferences in late November / early December 2020, so we can either: join them, align with them, or avoid a clash.

For example, we are aware that the 2020 NZMS Colloquium is running from 1-3 December 2020 at AUT.

Please submit any conferences that you know of, using the link below:
Go to Survey

This survey will close on Friday 31 January; and will be followed up with another survey to determine a preferred location for the conference.

ORSNZ Conference 2019 Recap & Prize Winners

This year’s ORSNZ conference was the first time we haven’t partnered with NZSA since 2012. Across the two days we had 56 people who attended, and 28 presentations. You can see the abstracts for all the presentations here.

There was also an Analytics Forum event on Well-being Analytics aligned with the first-day on the conference, attended by about 150 people.

The OSHA and ENR SIGs each hosted sessions at the conference, which helped to attract people from industry to a day or session of the conference.

YPP Prize Winners

Sponsored by Suez Smart Solutions

Best Paper: Comparison of objective functions for scheduling surgeries. Thomas Adams, Michael O’Sullivan & Cameron Walker. Engineering Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Best Presentation: Universal locker systems for urban metros. Parameshwaran Iyer, Ronald Veldman & Yao Zhang.

Highly Commended: The optimisation of milk collection. Snigdha Saha & Olivier Graffeuille.

JAG Prize Winners

Sponsored by Optimity

Winner: Developing a decision making tool for Housing New Zealand. Hrishi Kodthuguli, Michael O’Sullivan & Cameron Walker.

Highly Commended: Who will be covered and who will be left behind? Advising the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation on fairness. Maaike Vollebergh, Caroline Jagtenberg & Jo Røislien.

ORSNZ Annual General Meeting 2019

At the upcoming ORSNZ conference, we will have our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, December 4 (exact time has yet to be determined).

The agenda for the meeting is:

  1. Apologies (to [email protected]);
  2. Minutes of the previous AGM;
  3. Matters arising from the minutes;
  4. President’s report;
  5. Honorary Treasurer’s report and financial statements;
  6. Future Conferences;
  7. Election of officers and auditor;
  8. Other business.

Please send through additional agenda items to [email protected] by 5pm Friday 22 November.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can assign a proxy to vote on your behalf using the 2nd page of this form. (So long as the form is emailed to [email protected] by the morning of Wednesday December 4, that is fine.)