ARC centre to solve complex industrial problems through optimisation

Monash University celebrates the launch of an Australian Research Council (ARC) centre aimed at transforming industries through increased uptake of trusted and leading optimisation technologies.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardener speaking at the OPTIMA launch event

Officially launched on 16 November 2022, the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Optimisation Technologies, Integrated Methodologies and Applications (OPTIMA) is a collaboration between Monash University, the University of Melbourne and nine major industry partners.

Cross-disciplinary researchers including seven Chief Investigators from Monash’s Faculty of Business and Economics, Faculty of Information Technology and Faculty of Science will work closely with industry partners to address their urgent need for decision-making tools, reduction of lead times and financial and environmental costs while improving efficiency, quality, and agility.

The focal point of OPTIMA’s operations is 11 research projects working closely with nine industry partners including Boeing Australia, AGL, Melbourne Water, Future Fibre Technologies, Mecca Brands, ProbeCX, Southeast Water, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and ENGIE.

The researchers are working towards industry-ready optimisation toolkits and developing training programs for the benefit of industry employees and for the purpose of education. Projects include exploring solutions to mitigate flood risk and provide habitat for endangered platypus, maximising wind farm performance, and improving aircraft design.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said despite the presence of strong research expertise in Australia, industry is yet to fully benefit from optimisation technology.

“This new centre will nurture a symbiotic relationship between the Australian industry and the best multidisciplinary optimisation research to ensure that we are at the forefront of best-in-class practices in enterprise, research and education,” Professor Gardner said.

OPTIMA Director Professor Kate Smith-Miles from University of Melbourne said the city is home to many of the world’s leading researchers, at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, spanning various academic disciplines that contribute to optimisation technologies: mathematics, statistics, computer science, economics and engineering.

“In OPTIMA we are breaking down our disciplinary and institutional silos to advance optimisation technology, inspired by the complex decision making problems faced by our industry partners,” Professor Smith-Miles said.

“The opportunity to deliver impactful industrial transformation while simultaneously advancing our research field is hugely motivating for all of us.”