AMSI Intern's algorithms improve supply chains

Most of us rarely spare a thought for what goes on behind-the-scenes before a product becomes available to buy off the shelf, but understanding these complex supply chains is crucial for maintaining the flow of goods and services to industry and the public.

Joey Fung, University of Technology, Sydney, undertook a 12-week internship with the CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics division that focussed on long-term capacity planning as it applies to broad range of industries.

Following on from his honours project, Joey’s internship involved developing algorithms to find the minimum cost of meeting forecasted supply demands. For example, the overall cost of expanding facilities such as ports and railway networks can be affected by the timing and type of machinery purchases. Joey’s project focussed on bulk materials supply chains and heavy industry supply chains, where infrastructure decisions usually have to be made several years in advance.

Joey presented his research at the International Federation of Operations Research Societies (IFORS) conference, held at the Melbourne Convention Centre in July 2011. He discussed the models he developed during his internship and the results of his computational experiments.

“Joey is now looking at doing a PhD and I think he definitely has the capability to go in that direction”, said Dr Gaurav Singh, who was Joey’s industry partner at CSIRO.

Joey’s academic mentor was Dr Yakov Zinder, University of Technology, Sydney.