Another year, another successful BAM

The Biarri Applied Mathematics conference for 2014 has now concluded and the feedback we received has indicated that the event was an overwhelming success.  We had over 200 registrations and by our rough count approximately 120 people attended over the course of the two days that the event was held, at RMIT University, Melbourne.


On Day 1 we gained an appreciation of the labour that goes into gathering data for sports analytics from Anthony Bedford of RMIT; his interactive videos also showed that most of the audience were not very proficient at analysing basketball plays!  Alysson Costa’s passion for the flexibility and power of MIPs shone through his talk, though no doubt he was very much “preaching to the choir”.  Jan de Gier’s modelling of traffic networks will surely make most of us pause for thought when we are next stuck in a spontaneous jam.BAM-2014-5889

Geoff Prince of AMSI made sure that no-one suffered post-lunch sleepiness by providing some alarming  statistics about the level of maths in education, reminding us of the ongoing need to evangelise our wonderful discipline.  Menkes Van Den Briel from NICTA provided ample evidence that “Optimisation is Everywhere” in his talk, and no doubt made many of the audience who were regular travellers more conscious of how they board aeroplanes.  At the end of the day Noon Silk of Biarri wrapped up an excellent first day by showing examples of how to collaborate openly and how reproducing our results publicly could maximise the fun quotient of research.

Day 2 featured a raft of good reasons to pursue MIPs as a powerful solution technique by Michael Forbes of the University of Queensland.  Three Biarri talks then followed including arguably the best-titled talk of the conference, David Philpot’s “Silence of the Lambs”, which spoke of optimisation modelling in the meat processing industry and may well have the vegetarian audience members somewhat queasy.BAM-2014-6215

After another excellent lunch (how good was that catering!!) the afternoon talks included an engaging presentation on word puzzles by Michael Bulmer of the University of Queensland, models to help save the White-backed Woodpecker in Sweden by Peter Baxter (also of the University of Queensland), and finally to end the day, an encouragement by the BAM chairperson – given that we saw how powerful mathematical and analytical thinking can be, coupled with strong evidence that indeed maths “is everywhere” – that we could all “make a difference” with maths.

Biarri and AMSI would once again like to thank all the presenters for volunteering their time to speak at the BAM, for RMIT for providing an excellent venue, and to all of the attendees for their interest and enthusiasm (not to mention their excellent questions).  Behind the scenes a number of people worked hard to organise the event and ensure that it was run smoothly.  See you all again at the next BAM!

Biarri diagnosing Hospital and Health Services

A major part to the national health reform act 2011, was the implementation of national activity based funding (ABF) for Australian Public Hospitals. The model provides incentives to hospitals showing initiative and leadership in transparency in the delivery and funding of Hospital and Health Services across Australia.

The problem that many hospitals are now facing is that they use a limited form of descriptive analytics. Hospitals are typically using tools that aggregate and classify historical data however lack the rigor and skillset to predict future demand, trends or patterns.

The Gold Coast University Hospital approached Biarri to assist in forecasting demand for the next financial year. Being under external and internal pressure with new government rules and regulation around ABF, it was imperative that they could properly determine future demand and act on any issues or opportunities.

To optimise their capacity planning efforts, Biarri has developed a tool that allows GCUH understand their data through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation through our cloud based platform – Biarri Workbench.

If you feel as though Biarri could help you, feel free to get in touch

Tom Forbes, Chief Executive officer
E: PH: 0408 703 436
Sam Rowse, Chief Sales Officer
E: ph: 0458 004 220


A new standard in the commercial air cargo market

How CLIVE is helping DHL set a new standard in the commercial air cargo market.

Given the complexity inherent in global airfreight booking and allocation systems the notion that Microsoft Excel is widely used as the default decision making support tool is nothing short of surprising. However this was the case when DHL engaged CLIVE with an objective of finding a better way to manage their global network.

The current December issue of Airline Cargo Management titled ‘When DHL met CLIVE’ discusses the leap forward taken by DHL from a reliance on an excel based tool to implementing advanced technology through CLIVE’s customised software-as-a- service (SAAS) application.

CLIVE worked with a unit of DHL Aviation, Air Capacity Sales (ACS), which sells the airline’s spare capacity to forwarders, to help smooth-out the imbalances that typically occur within major cargo airlines. In the article, Paul Ennis, managing director of ACS, had previously used excel and found; “The accuracy of the information was inadequate and there was no real-time visibility on capacity allocation, especially taking into account that DHL Aviation has such a complex network.”

“It’s an amazing leap forward” – Ennis

Ennis goes on to explain that his customers tend to want fixed or agreed allocations on various sectors. “We have lots of demand for pre-allocated capacity. We didn’t have a system before – we used an Excel sheet to manage allocations, so we were interested in CLIVE. It’s an amazing leap forward.”

CLIVE’s software services combine in-depth knowledge of the air cargo industry with an intuitive user experience

Commercial decision making in air cargo is complex and made even more so when confronted with volatile markets, fragmented processes, legacy technology and scattered information. The article quotes CLIVE’s tagline, which is ‘bringing humanised technology to the air cargo domain’. It is the company’s conviction that order and simplicity are the best response to the complexity surrounding commercial decision-making in air cargo.

To support three key management processes; allocation, demand forecasting and operations, CLIVE built separate applications for distinct processes; which allowed DHL to present its clients only with the information they need, keeping the applications clutter free.

The new insights provided by this service allowed DHL to generate additional value from their global air cargo network.

In the article Ennis confirmed that CLIVE gives ACS more accuracy and efficiency across the global network. “Running a network involves multiple sectors which we can put in a single view, allowing us to tell the customer immediately what the options are. If they require capacity we can give an instantaneous answer. The real benefits are for the customer. It’s much more accurate, clean and neat,” Ennis said.

“CLIVE gives ACS more accuracy and efficiency across the global network” – Ennis

One unexpected benefit was the way it affected the team, he adds. “People feel more empowered to engage with customers as we have a clearer view of what is going on. You never get a second chance to fill an aircraft, and now we can talk facts and figures with customers. “We learned things – it forced us to go into more detail, made us look at our business more closely.”


CLIVE provides humanized technology to the air cargo industry. Commercial decision making in air cargo is complex and CLIVE’s goal is to add order to this complexity by developing easy to use, customised applications from scratch, making practical use of highly advanced mathematics.

CLIVE is part of the Biarri Group of Companies (Biarri Optimisation, Biarri Networks, and Render Networks), that work to provide accessible optimisation to all businesses.

Schweppes Vehicle Routing Optimisation

Helping students deliver Vehicle Routing Optimisation

When Griffith University’s Business School asked for support developing a network optimisation case for the Applied Business Modelling course, Biarri was happy to assist.

An opportunity to teach and demonstrate state-of-the-art thinking

Robert Ogulin Lecturer and Program Director of Griffith’s Master of Supply Network Management (MSNM) identified an opportunity to “teach and demonstrate state of the art thinking” to his logistics and supply chain students. The Masters program provides students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of effective and sustainable management of global sourcing and international business, and Ogulin recognised the importance of ensuring that students get practical experience with advanced supply chain and optimisation tools.

“It is becoming increasingly clear to me that logistics and supply chain students (and business students in general) require more exposure to related IT” Ogulin said.

The course required access to advanced logistics and supply chain software that had been proven in the rigours of a commercial setting. Biarri’s expertise in the development of easy to use, powerful optimisation solutions across a range of commercial applications and industry sectors proved a good fit with Griffith University’s high performance expectations. Biarri’s Vehicle Routing Optimisation (VRO) tool could accommodate a wide variety of constraints and scenarios, from basic functionality for a homogeneous fleet and fixed load/unload times, to more complex issues such as multi-day workload balancing or managing multiple depots and tours.

Biarri’s VRO helped Schweppes Australia achieve great results with the development of a comprehensive vehicle routing solution, customised to Schweppes’ unique requirements. This application was designed to optimise routes based on their customers’ limited delivery windows while still meeting rigorous customer service level agreements. The VRO tool helped Schweppes achieve a 10% reduction in total fleet kilometres, saving the business thousands of unnecessary kilometers and reduced overall environmental impact via reduced fuel and truck usage.

This made Biarri’s VRO a perfect choice for the program, allowing students to test challenging scenarios and deliver optimised results within real-world constraints. A total of 40 students from the Undergraduate BBUS (Logistics and Supply Network Management) and Master of Supply Network Management courses were offered free on-line access to the VRO software across a two week period and by all accounts the project proved to be a success.

“The tool provided an easy to use but powerful learning environment. The scenarios that (Biarri) provided were perfect to get the students to think through the implications of changing constraints or cost parameters”

Biarri Optimisation - 21

Biarri’s Student Invitational 2014

Last Thursday night we held our first Student Invitational which by all accounts appeared to be a hit! The event was attended by 18 enthusiastic students from The University of Queensland 4th year Mathematics Honours programs.

Biarri Student Invitational 2014

Students were provided with an opportunity to engage with a commercial mathematics environment and to discuss opportunities for Mathematics graduates post University. Ellie, Rav and Andrew offered some personal insights into the transition from University to life as professional mathematicians and provided a sneak-peek at some of the exciting and challenging projects that they are currently working on.

Biarri Student Invitational 2014 02

The feedback from the students has been very positive and Biarri is proud to take an active role in building connections between academia and business by fostering emerging talent and helping to promote Mathematics as an exciting career option.

Biarri Student Invitational 2014 03

BAMConf 2014 - Maths Everywhere

Biarri Applied Mathematics 2014

Biarri will hold its 2nd Biarri Applied Mathematics (BAM) Conference at RMIT, Melbourne, over two days from the 25th to the 26th November. The BAM Conference is a free event being co-hosted with RMIT and supported by Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI). The theme of this year’s event is “Maths Everywhere”, with speakers from a wide range of disciplines and organizations highlighting the breadth of places where the mathematical sciences are making a difference.

Biarri’s CTO and conference co-chair Andrew Grenfell, says “We are excited to be co-hosting the event again this year. It is a great opportunity to highlight the crucial role that mathematics plays in the real world and to demonstrate the diverse career paths that mathematics can offer.” This year’s presenters will cover a range of topics from the burgeoning analytics sphere to bioinformatics, telecommunication network design, disaster modelling, nature conservation, sport and finance. The event promises to showcase mathematical tools and techniques used to solve problems in the real world, through case studies and in-depth talks.

The recent release of the Chief Scientist’s report ‘Australia 2025: Smart Science – Mathematics’ highlighted the positive impact Mathematics can have in creating new and better Australian industries. The report noted the powerful role Mathematics can play in societies obsessed with progress and aspiring to greater technological sophistication. However, concerns remain over mathematics and science education in Australia, particularly declining school and university enrolments, and Australia’s declining attainment relative to other countries. “We need to address the decline in the number of students completing later year university level mathematics studies as this has the potential to reduce Australia’s future capacity for innovation and international competitiveness. It is important that companies like ours take an active role in building greater links between mathematics and business, fostering emerging talent and helping to promote mathematics as an exciting career option “, Grenfell said.

Biarri Applied Mathematics (BAM) conference will be at RMIT, Melbourne, over two days from the 25th to the 26th November. BamConf 2014 is a free event being co-hosted with RMIT and supported by Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI).

Visit for more information

Meat Processing Optimisation

Applying Mathematics to Meat Processing

Biarri has developed unique cloud-based meat processing software that has been released in Australia for use by companies within the meat industry to optimise production, reduce waste and boost revenue.

One of the world’s largest processors and exporters of lamb and mutton, Alliance Group, approached Biarri in 2013 to develop a new meat processing technology for exclusive use by the group to boost business operations in New Zealand.

The technology was able to help Alliance make significant savings in operating costs by using a software model to maximise their products and revenue yields. The technology has been customised for use within the Australian meat processing industry and can be modified to accommodate a diverse range of requirements including both Beef and Lamb.

The software uses highly complex mathematical algorithms to improve decision making. The software enables meat processors to make important operational decisions quickly, ensuring all critical variables are considered for each production run. Using data and quantitative analysis removes ambiguity and improves speed and accuracy.

Despite its importance, key operational decision making is often based on gut-feel and subjectivity. The Meat Processing Optimiser (MPO) software determines the best cut strategy that maximises carcass yield according to the meat processors inputs and the highly efficient algorithms do the work in seconds; ensuring operational decisions are consistent and optimised every time. Decisions are more likely to be correct and the process has more rigor due to the application of the scientific method.

The Meat industry has in recent times faced very challenging operating conditions. An anticipated reduction of available livestock for slaughtering due to drought, rebuilding the national herd and the continued build-up of the live trade, will negatively impact profits and result in a tightening of budgets. Biarri believe their new technology can help boost the bottom line for processors regardless of production volumes or revenues and thereby contribute to the competitiveness of the whole value chain.

Tom Forbes, Biarri CEO said, “We are excited to offer our unique technology to the Australian market, and are confident, after seeing Alliance Group’s results, that the MPO will benefit operators by reducing costs and increasing revenue within the Australian meat processing industry.”

“Biarri is an IT company committed to unlocking the power of mathematics for all businesses to benefit operations. While the meat processing industry is not generally associated with business analytics, quantitative models and optimisation tools, the MPO is set to change operational decision making within the industry.”

“Meat processing in Australia is big business, with Australian’s consuming on average 46.5 kilograms of red meat each year, we decided there was definitely a requirement to develop a specific technology to streamline processes within the meat processing industry to maximise yields, boost revenue and reduce waste wherever possible.”

Head over to the Meat Processing Optimiser page for more information

First Class Honours, Biarri and NBN Co.

Biarri is one of six global finalists for the prestigious INFORMS Franz Edelman Prize for Achievement in Operations Research

Biarri is selected as one of the world’s best analytics teams

Biarri and NBN Co have been selected as one of six global finalists for the prestigious Franz Edelman Award. The Prize is the world’s most prestigious recognition for excellence in applying advanced analytics to benefit business and humanitarian outcomes. Biarri and NBN Co have been selected for developing a unique mathematical approach for designing broadband networks. Now in its 43rd year, the INFORMS Franz Edelman Prize competition recognises outstanding examples of analytics and operations research projects that transform companies, entire industries and people’s lives. Using innovative advanced analytical methods, the teams were instrumental in helping their respective institutions make better decisions, providing a disciplined way by which management can improve organisational performance in a wide variety of situations and across both public and private organisations.

Edelman Prize Selection Criteria

INFORMS Franz Edelman finalist teams have contributed over $200 billion in benefits to business and the public interest. The 2014 INFORMS Franz Edelman Prize finalists were chosen after a rigorous review by accomplished verifiers, all of whom have led successful analytics projects. The verifiers come from IBM, BNSF, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, HP, Eastman Chemical, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, the University of Chile, and other noted organisations. Finalists are chosen on the merits of how analytics methodologies were applied to solve problems, reduce costs, or otherwise improve results in real-world environments. The 2014 Edelman Prize winner will be announced at the Edelman Gala on March 31 during the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Boston.

Biarri and NBN Co are only the second finalists ever from Australia, Joe Forbes, co-founder of Biarri states, “We are excited and honoured to be selected as an Edelman finalist. We are very proud of the work we are doing with NBN Co on the broadband network and the contribution we can make to such an important national infrastructure project. As an Australian technology start-up it is great to be recognised one a global stage with some of the most prominent companies and institutions in the world.”

NBN Co and Biarri worked together to develop software (FOND) with an algorithmic engine that can quickly generate low cost broadband network designs. The mathematics allows NBN Co to design optimised (lowest cost) networks for any given network strategy or architecture (FFTH, FFTN, hybrid, etc). The mathematics has allowed NBN Co to reduce design effort by 80%. The technology allows NBN Co and its partners to design the optimal network for the Government’s current broadband strategy. Paul Kennedy, CEO of Biarri Networks states, “There is a real satisfaction in working with NBN Co to solve a problem that hasn’t been solved before, and delivering real benefit to this massive project”.

This international recognition of NBN Co and Biarri is a testament to Australia’s leadership in Technology and Innovation. Biarri is now deploying FOND to Chorus in NZ for the design of the UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband Network) and is conducting pilot projects for broadband networks throughout North America and Asia.

The winner for 2014 Edelman Award will be announced at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R., Boston, MA on Monday 31 March 2014. Also, each year the finalist organisations are inducted as members of the Franz Edelman Academy. Members of the Academy, inducted each year at the Edelman Gala, include the primary client organisation (NBN Co) along with the mathematical organisation (Biarri).

2014 Edelman Finalists

  1. Twitter, with Stanford University, for “The ‘Who to Follow’ System at Twitter: Strategy, Algorithms, and Revenue Impact.”
  2. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with Kid Risk, Inc., for “Using Integrated Analytical Models to Support Global Health Policies to Manage Vaccine Preventable Diseases: Polio Eradication and Beyond.”
  3. The Energy Authority for “Hydroelectric Generation and Water Routing Optimizer.”
  4. Grady Memorial Hospital, with the Georgia Institute of Technology, for “Modeling and Optimising Emergency Department Workflow.”
  5. Kidney Exchange at the Alliance for Paired Donation, with Stanford and Mitford “Kidney Exchange.”
  6. NBN Company, with Biarri, for “Fibre Optic Network Optimization at NBN Co.”

About NBN Co

NBN Co is a Government Business Enterprise whose aim is to assist the Australian Government in ensuring Australians have access to the most appropriate high-speed broadband technology. Biarri ( and is an Australian commercial mathematics and technology business. It was founded in 2009 to provide accessible optimisation to improve business efficiency. Some of Biarri’s other customers include Schweppes, Boral, Rio Tinto, Aurizon and Chorus NZ.


The Edelman Award is presented by The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS – INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics.

Biarri Applied Mathematics conference a success!

The first Biarri Applied Mathematics conference, or BAM, was hosted by the School of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Queensland on Monday (Feb 22). The conference was a big success, with around 65 people attending, including industry representatives, academics and students.

Dr Simon Dunstall from CSIRO won the prize for the best talk of the day, however all the talks (given by Operations Research practioners from both Biarri and from industry) were informative and interesting and generated discussion and questions. In particular it seemed that Network Flow techniques were very much alive and well, as they came up in several different modelling contexts throughout the day.

Biarri once again thanks those who attended as well as those behind the scenes who helped make the event a success.