Plenary Speakers

The following plenary speakers have been confirmed:


Professor Di Cook

DiCookDi Cook is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. Her research is in data visualization, exploratory data analysis, multivariate methods, data mining and statistical computing. She has developed methods for visualising high-dimensional data using tours, projection pursuit, manual controls for tours, pipelines for interactive graphics, a grammar of graphics for biological data, and visualizing boundaries in high-d classifiers. Di has experimented with visualizing data in virtual environments, participated in producing software including xgobi, ggobi, cranvas and several R packages. Her current work is focusing on bridging the gap between statistical inference and exploratory graphics. Di and her colleagues are doing experiments using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and eye-tracking equipment. Some of the applications that Di has worked on include backhoes, drug studies, mud crab growth, climate change, gene expression analysis, butterfly populations in Yellowstone, stimulus funds spending, NRC rankings of graduate programs, technology boom and bust, election polls, soybean breeding, common crop population structures, insect gall to plant host interactions, soccer and tennis statistics.

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Professor David Morton

David Morton is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University. His research interests include stochastic and large-scale optimization, where he seeks to formulate tractable models with appropriate fidelity, develop computational tools of practical value, and provide insights in applications and methodology. His applied interests include security, public health, and energy systems. He received a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Stetson University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Research from Stanford University. Prior to joining Northwestern, he was on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, worked as a Fulbright Research Scholar at Charles University in Prague, and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. He currently directs Northwestern’s Center for Optimization and Statistical Learning

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Dr Mike O’Sullivan

mike-osullivanDr Michael O’Sullivan has a PhD (Management Science and Engineering) and MS (Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research) from Stanford University and a MPhil (Distinction, Operations Research) and BSc (First Class Honours, Mathematics and Computer Science) from the University of Auckland.  Dr O’Sullivan’s research specialty is Operations Research (OR) and, in the recent years, combining OR with Analytics. He formed the research group ORUA and this group specialises in utilising OR and Analytics to develop intelligent systems. ORUA’s research into OR and Analytics provides intelligence in many application areas including:  1) Healthcare – ORUA researchers are investigating models for providing OR/Analytics for healthcare systems including data-driven optimised rosters for General Medicine, optimal rostering and dispatch for Patient Transit, and simulation and optimisation for surgery scheduling; 2) Cloud Computing – ORUA’s intelligent cloud programme is pioneering concept of OR/Analytics-based intelligence modules and these modules combine with cloud computing modules such as Compute, Store, and Connect to provide intelligent clouds; 3) Government – ORUA researchers are analysing data and forecasting future demand for government services. They will use this data and these forecasts to determine the best way to provide these services and identify the need for future investment. ORUA’s research programmes also realise new tools for OR and Analytics. This work provides innovative tools for use across all the application areas. Recently Dr O’Sullivan has been appointed a theme leader for Precise and Timely Healthcare as part of the Precision Driven Health Research Partnership.

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Dr Kevin Ross, Orion Health

KevinRossKevin Ross is Director of Research at Orion Health, a global healthcare platform managing health records for over 100 million patients worldwide, and General Manager of the Precision Driven Health partnership with District Health Boards and the University of Auckland. He founded and chairs the New Zealand Analytics Forum, a group of over 1700 professionals committed to learning and sharing best practice analytics. Prior to joining Orion, he was Chief Scientist of Optimisation Modelling at Fonterra, where he led the development of analytics capability for product mix, asset investment and forecasting for New Zealand’s largest company. He was previously Associate Professor of Technology and Information Management at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Principal Consultant for PA Consulting Group. He has worked across multiple sectors, including for NASA, Bell Labs, Eli Lilly and London Councils. Kevin holds a PhD from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering, and a BSc(Hons) from the University of Canterbury in Mathematics.

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Professor Rhema Vaithianathan

A health economist with a passion for translational research, Rhema Vaithianathan is internationally recognised for her ambitious research using linked administrative data.  Using data for social good is a common thread; the research projects that interest Vaithianathan most are those that exist in the junction between ‘big data’ and ‘unsolved social problems’.  A recent example is the Allegheny County project, where Vaithianathan led an international research team to develop a child welfare predictive tool for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, US. The tool, which is now live, makes use of linked data to support better decision making by front line staff as they decide whether or not to open child maltreatment investigations.  In New Zealand, Vaithianathan and her team recently completed several impact evaluations commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development, which was seeking empirical evidence on the effectiveness of interventions including the Family Start home visiting programme.  In both her domestic and international research, Vaithianathan regularly collaborates with colleagues at AUT and other New Zealand universities, as well as researchers from University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.  In 2016 Vaithianathan co-founded the Centre for Social Data Analytics at Auckland University of Technology. The Centre is a growing hub for research, education and collaboration on social data analytics, in New Zealand and internationally.

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