Oil and Gas Solutions

Intelligent Energy Logistics on the World Stage

At the end of last year Ash Nelson (Biarri Co-Founder) and Tzara Ayton (Biarri, Senior Optimisaiton Consultant), two of Biarri’s Oil and Gas specialists, attended the DHL Global Energy Conference at the Petroleum Club in Houston. The theme was Intelligent Energy Logistics.

Together with Jonathon Shortis (DHL VP Energy – EMEA), Ash was invited to present on Data Management across End to End Supply Chains and participate in the associated panel discussion.

Ash’s presentation focused on the benefits improved data management and analysis can play in Energy Supply Chain design and operation. This was an opportunity to showcase the proven solutions Biarri has provided in the On-Shore Coal Seam Gas industry in Queensland over the past 5 years and also demonstrate the important impact analytics is having in modern oil and gas operations.

The discussion included:

  • Pre FEED/FEED analysis and design to support investment decisions and supply chain design including demand definition, optimised facility sizing and location, transport planning and people logistics requirements
  • Operational Management using tactical data management to deliver better day to day decision making. An example of this is the Biarri Capital Project Freight Portal which is used to allocate transport and sequence, track, co-ordinate and record the movement of Free Issue Material to infield construction programs.



Ash Nelson, Biarri Co Founder.

If you would like to find out more information on how Biarri can improve the efficiency of your Oil and Gas operation, Get in touch;

or Contact Sam Rowse, Chief Sales Officer:
Mobile:0458 004 220

Why Does analytics matter to my business?

Why does Analytics matter to my business?

Regardless of the size of your business, or position you are in, analytics is involved in one way shape or form. Analytics is used to find value within data in order to make decisions to minimise risk and maximise return. This can take the form of statistical modelling, forecasting, visualisation and much more, all in order to help with your strategic or operational decisions.

Businesses under review

The Harvard Business review’s research evaluated 5,000 employees at 22 global companies breaking them down into three groups; analysis over gut feeling; gut feeling over analysis; and the informed sceptics who balance analytics with gut feeling. The latter group being the best in regards to making the best, informed decisions as they were willing to not only look at the analytics, but the opinions of other people. Despite being recognised as being the best to make informed, critical decisions, only 38% of employees, and 50% of senior managers fall into this group.

How to tell if your business is analytically challenged?

Are your analytical decisions coming from a select few employees?

Usually when there is a skill gap within a company an outside consultant will be brought in, or a select few employees will be pushed towards training. This is an important task for bringing in new ideas and skill sets to your business. However, a lot of companies don’t encourage the spread of this wealth of knowledge. This often results in a select few employees having all of the knowledge and skills.

Biarri looks to promote education and training for key decision makers and users within your organisation so that your new software can be taught at different levels.

Are your systems focused on features rather than the benefits?

In a lot of companies the IT department is pushed away from the decision making process. This often results in building and organising things in a way to cater for the computer savvy, or IT expert rather than the general user. What this means for your business is that other employees and decision makers are hesitant to start using new systems and programs.

Biarri designs custom software for you, with you. We bring together IT, and operations staff so that design choices can be made from people using the tools!

Do you have data but don’t know what to do with it?

Many organisations get into a stage of collecting so much information that it becomes a mess and difficult to deal with. Or, someone else has told them to collect the information but they have no idea what it means. The implications this can have on your business is that it can cause clouded judgement. The Harvard business review found that less than 40% of employees know how to find the information they need for their work.

Biarri can help develop specific dashboards and input fields for your data and hosting this in the cloud means you can access your software, anytime, anywhere on any device.

Do you know who’s in charge of the data?

Historically data was considered the responsibility of the IT department and as a result a lot of managers and executives gave away this responsibility. However, it is important that managers, and executives champion data and analytics in their decision making. The right decision at the right time will help across your whole business.

Biarri can help by giving you the power to make the right decisions at the right time. We help to make Business analytics accessible to everyone.

How do I make better business decisions?

There are a bunch of ways in which you develop your analytics skills within your business.

  • Workshops and Training, Find a select few employees to champion new skills and abilities. However, make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of not spreading the wealth of knowledge. Make sure those employees spend time training and mentoring others within your business
  • Get someone in to have a look at your data, By getting an external perspective on your data, you will have a better understanding on how you can go about making better decisions
  • Get on top of your IT and software, Make sure that you have software that everyone can use to make better decisions. If you can make data easier to use then employees will be able to make faster, profitable and risk adverse decisions.

Where does Biarri Fit In?

Biarri Is an Australian Software company that uses the power of mathematics to help business make better decisions. We use the latest Operations Research tools and techniques in order to find you the best solutions. Coupled with simple and easy to use design we can build you bespoke solutions within 90 days.

Find out how we can help you across Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Workforce Management, Supply Chain Optimisation, Business Analytics and throughout different Industries.

Or, Contact us today to see how we can help you!

Death by parameters

In my previous blog post I wrote about the great flexibility and power of Genetic Algorithms. So you may have thought; why do I need help with my optimisation problems? One can just simply grab an off-the-shelf Genetic Algorithm and use it. However, as with everything, there are always two sides to every story and this time I’ll show you why optimizing with Genetic Algorithms is much harder than it seems.

The flexibility of Genetic Algorithms arises, in part, from a flexibility to choose a dizzying number of parameters. When writing your own code you potentially have to decide on things such as the number of competing optimal solutions, the number of times to improve them, the mutation and crossover probabilities, the percentage of the population to eliminate in each generation and many more.

With so many choices, choosing the parameters correctly can determine whether the algorithm bears fruit or withers and dies. This difficulty has lead to many papers on the best way to choose parameters. Unfortunately even if one is able to choose good parameters for one problem, this is no guarantee that the same parameters will work for the next problem.

Reed warbler cuckoo

A reed warbler raising the young of a common cuckoo

So over the years researchers have searched for other powerful optimisation techniques which don’t suffer from such a parameter overload. From this research we now have a number of promising algorithms. In particular, in 2009 Xin-she Ying and Suash Deb came up with the ultimate of all parameter starved algorithms, the Cuckoo Search Algorithm. In this algorithm there is one parameter. Yes only one.

The Cuckoo Search Algorithm is inspired by the parasitic nature of some cuckoo species such as the European common cuckoo. These species lay their eggs in the nests of other host birds in an attempt to trick the host to raise their own nestlings. Sometimes this devious trick succeeds. When it doesn’t, the host bird either throws the egg over the side of the nest or simply abandons the nest altogether.

In the Cuckoo Search Algorithm the cuckoo’s ploy translates into an optimisation algorithm via four idealized rules which are repeated until the desired optimisation criteria are fulfilled. In the following algorithm each egg represents a solution and by a cuckoo laying an egg, we mean create a new random solution:

  1. Each cuckoo lays an egg in a random nest.
  2. Out of all laid eggs keep a number of the best eggs equal to the number of cuckoos.
  3. Abandon a fixed fraction of the worst eggs.
  4. Repeat

Find the parameter? The single, lonely parameter in the Cuckoo Search Algorithm is the fraction of the worst nests that are abandoned. This parameter affects how thorough the algorithm searches all possible solutions and so a lower value means the algorithm will find a local optimum faster (although maybe not a desired global optimum).

The avian-inspired algorithm has been used in numerous difficult problems to oust other optimisation methods out of their leadership position. For example, it has been used for spring and beam design problems , scheduling problems, the famous traveling salesman problem and even optimisation challenges in nanoelectronics! Like most other heuristic optimisation methods, the areas of application can be quite astounding.

So now that you’ve canceled the download of a promising Genetic Algorithm and started one of a new Cuckoo Search Algorithm, I thought I’d warn you again that there’s another side to this story too. Although the bird-based algorithm makes parameter choice simple, it may or may not be your best choice for a given optimisation problem. There are many heuristics for optimisation problems and choosing the right heuristic is probably much harder than choosing the right parameters for a given optimisation method. But you don’t have to worry about your precision nest eggs because luckily you’re on the website of a company competent enough to help you with this choice.

Biarri and SaaS

SaaS deployments are now ‘mission critical’

Gartner recently published a survey citing that SaaS deployments are now ‘mission critical.’ Some of the key reasons behind this statement is that respondents looked for cost savings, an increase in innovation and accessibility to their systems as key drivers for the move away from local software solutions.

Joanne Correia, Gartner Research Vice President said,

“The most commonly cited reasons the survey found for deploying SaaS were for development and testing production/mission-critical workloads,” and went on to say “This is an affirmation that more businesses are comfortable with cloud deployments beyond the front office running salesforce automation (SFA) and email.”

This shows that companies are becoming more aware, and switched on to the benefits that cloud based software can bring to their company.

It was also demonstrated that on top of cost savings, accessibility, and innovation, SaaS based systems allowed for easier training and lower learning curves for employees.

“Non-IT professionals, often view the cloud strictly as a tool that they can use to reduce their operating costs,” and in turn effort.

Biarri empowering you through the cloud

Biarri was established in 2009 with the mission to provide accessible business optimisation to all clients regardless of size or budgets. We develop bespoke SaaS based solutions for you, with you allowing your solutions to meet your specific requirements.

We have been able to develop a bunch of applications for our clients to suit their specific; Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Workforce Management, Business Analytics and Supply Chain needs.

Get in touch and see how you can benefit from our solutions today!



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 Optimisation - 21

One tech to rule them all

Back in high school when you were battling polynomials with derivatives, you learnt one of your first all-purpose optimisation techniques. Given a function, take its derivative, set it to zero and solve for all optima. Voila! After you had coerced the equation to give up all its maxima secrets, you could then be safe in the knowledge that you had found the optimal values.

If you enjoyed computing the optimal speed to jump your calculus hurdles, then you probably went on to university to learn more about other mathematical tools. Once there you most likely met your second all-purpose optimisation technique, Linear Programming. Given a simple linear function with linear constraints, you learnt that you could use any of a number of tools such as the Simplex Method to easily and quickly solve such problem.

Ant Colonay Optimisation in Action

Figure 1 Ant Colony Optimisation in Action

From there, if you had more of an applied orientation, you probably went on to learn about the exotic optimisation creatures. For example, Genetic Algorithms, Simulated Annealing as well as a host of other nature-inspired algorithms such as Ant Colony Optimisations, Swarm Optimisation, Artificial Bee Colony Optimisation techniques, etc. In the 1990s and 2000s, for almost any type of problem, it seemed that one could find a new nature-inspired optimisation technique to solve it better than previous more mainstream tools.

However, in spite of the swarm of new optimisation tools, most problems for which these new techniques were developed could be solved with existing tools. Although probably not as efficiently. Hence the question was which method was best? The answer to this question came in 1995 when two researchers, David Wolpert and William MacReady at the renowned Sante Fe Institute, proved a number of theorems collectively referred to as the “No free lunch” theorems. These results could be seen as implying that there is no one optimisation method that is best for all problems. In addition, when we average over all problems, we expect all methods to be equal.

This result has important and deep implications. It means that if you swear by a single generic optimisation method and try and use it to solve all your problems, then don’t expect it to perform better than your three year old son who guesses random solutions to all your different stochastic multi-objective constrained optimisation techniques.

Given this it would seem strange then that I am about to suggest the idea of solving numerous problems with a single optimisation technique. Besides the fact that a number of these problems don’t look like optimisation problems at all! The reason for doing this is to see the power of an interesting optimisation technique, as well as its flexibility and generality. In addition, one needs to bear in mind that the “No free lunch” theorem is a result about every imaginable optimisation problem, which is just a tad more than the few I will touch on here.

The ST5 antenna’s final optimised design

Figure 2 The ST5 antenna’s final optimised design

The class of optimisation technique that I want to discuss here is generally referred to as Genetic Algorithms. They have been successfully used on thousands of research and industrial problems and continue to amaze researchers with their potential to solve problems far beyond their original scope. For example, one of the most famous applications of Genetic Algorithms was by NASA in 2006 to develop a new antenna design for their ST5 antenna. It can be seen that the optimal design was anything but intuitive and most likely would not have been found by a “standard” optimisation technique based on initial human guesses.

So what type of problems would be considered inappropriate for Genetic Algorithms? First of all, you couldn’t do much worse than write some code to give to your son or daughter so that in their next algebra exam they can solve x + 5 = 6 with your tailored made Genetic Algorithm. They could just let your code chug away and sit there patiently while it aces the exam for them. Although not probably the most effective use of Genetic Algorithms, it is entirely possible.

So let’s take that thought one step further. What about solving the humble quadratic equation with a genetic algorithm? It has been done (and done againand again). But the quadratic equation belongs to pure mathematics right? In addition, it’s an equation you can solve directly isn’t it? Yes and yes but interestingly enough Genetic Algorithms have started to make their way into some of the purest area of mathematics to help solve problems that are stumping pure mathematicians, This is truly one area where you would not expect the tools of applied mathematicians to come to the rescue of pure mathematicians.

We have only scratched the surface of unexpected applications of Genetic Algorithms. In fact, they have made an appearance in almost every endeavour of research from physics to economics, from architecture to chemistry and even all the way back to their nature-inspired beginnings with numerous applications in biology. So in spite of our knowledge that there is no one method to solve all problems, Genetic Algorithms present us with a versatile and powerful tool that seems to have a lot more in store for our future problem solvers.

Read the second part here.

3 Elements of a successful fleet management system

MiningIQ recently published an article looking at how to make mining operations more efficient. As a more competitive market opens up and there is an increase in compliance and external forces (exchange rate, supply, demand, labour costs, etc.) these businesses are required to maximise productivity at a minimum operating cost all in order to increase profitability.

They found that one of the key business processes that large mining operations can deliver on is their fleet management. MiningIQ discovered that companies such as Glencore, BHP and ADG Mining are all rethinking their approach to fleet management and looking at the smarter way to improve their efficiency and bottom line.

Effective Maintenance Management

MiningiQ stated that Glencore is at the forefront of implementing optimisation into their maintenance management system. Their fleet is made up of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and their loader rebuilds cost upwards of 1 million dollars.

Through the use of maintenance management optimisation they were able to save; in one circumstance 390,000 dollars.

Truck Haulage Continuous Improvement

They went on to say that Peter Knights, Chair of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance has even gone beyond using optimisation within the maintenance of his vehicle fleet. He has done this by looking at the most economical way to run his vehicles; through energy and fuel they were able to improve efficiency.

Streamlining The Communications system

MiningIQ’s report found that power, communications, GPS and general infrastructure were key barriers to business efficiencies.

Adam Gray, specialist consultant, mining systems at ADGMining said

“The improvements in truck utilisation were astounding –we’re talking in the realms of more than three per cent, which is a massive figure at the end of an NPV,”

In a lot of cases streamlining the communication systems is as simple as moving off basic excel based programs that don’t allow you to perform specific tasks.

How can I achieve these sort of savings with my fleet?

Biarri is an Australian owned and operated company that was established in 2008. We have worked in many industries but have proven capabilities within Rail, Mining and Oil and Gas. Working with companies such as Rio Tinto, QLD Cotton, Arrow Energy, Origin Energy and Boral (to name a few) and have been able to work across a range of not only Fleet Management problems but; FIFO scheduling, Manpower Planning, Vehicle Routing, Rolling Stock Operational Management, Vessel Load optimisation, and many more.

Biarri builds custom software for you, with you over the cloud. Using the power of mathematics we can provide you with accessible optimisation that anyone in your business can use.

If you want to find out more about how we can help you, Contact us!

Can Analytics help fight Ebola?

The issue facing many countries that are both directly and indirectly effected is, how can we prevent the spread of Ebola?

The use of analytics in crisis and natural disasters is not a new phenomenon. In 2010 during the Haiti Earthquakes a research team made up of staff from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Columbia University managed to map the spread of Cholera by mapping out mobile phone data.

What is happening in Africa?

Orange Telcom has handed over data from 150,000 mobile devices to a Swedish organisation in order to determine where people are moving. BBC found that this allowed authorities to see where to best place treatment centers and plan where to restrict, and prevent travel.

Nalini Joshi is a Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney. She stated during her appearance on Q&A that,

”The latest mathematical models from the CDC show that if you can isolate or hospitalise 70% of the infected patients by December, then the epidemic will be over in January. “So, it gives you a measure of what you can do to finish, to make sure that the epidemic doesn’t become a pandemic across the globe.”

She went on to say,

”It leads to a decision-making process, where you have to decide what resources you need to be able to hospitalise the 70% of infected patients that are expected by December. So it leads to all kinds of other branches, how many volunteers should you be sending, how many blankets and gowns and all of that should you send? So it gives you a measuring tool. It’s a ruler for deciding how to make the action happen.”

So, what does this all mean?

At the end of the day analytics within disaster control is a tool that empowers authorities to predict and properly plan. By providing quantitative analysis that is supported by data it reduces the need for spur of the moment gut feeling. This initiative and innovation used by authorities shows how analytics really can be used everywhere, and can help with disaster control.

Is it time for you to start using analytics?

Health Analytics

Analytics, just what the doctor ordered

Can Analytics and Optimisation be ‘Just what the Doctor ordered’ for struggling Australian Hospitals and Health Services?

In Australia consumers have more access to information than ever before and are demanding increasing accountability from their doctors, nurses health plans and, better health care quality. The Hospital and Health Services (HHS) industry despite struggling under the weight of an ageing population, a shortage in doctors and nurses, increased regulation, accountability, governance and budgetary oversight, are continually required to provide more with less.

The healthcare industry requires smarter, more informed decisions to enable improved efficiency, better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes.

Research in 2012 by IBM into the Healthcare Industry in the US confirmed mounting evidence of entrenched inefficiencies and sub-optimal clinical outcomes. The report highlighted how building an analytics focus can help these Health organisations harness “big data” to create actionable insights, set their future vision, improve outcomes and reduce time to value.

The authors note that the abundance of data that bombards healthcare professionals both facilitates and complicates the ability of healthcare providers to achieve and influence desirable outcomes. It appears clear that entrenched systemic inefficiencies in the health systems are at least in part attributed to the ineffective gathering, sharing and use of information

The glut of information makes it hard to differentiate data which can be used to generate powerful insights, from clutter. In fact, the dilemma presented by too much data and too little insight – is cited in the research as an increasingly daunting obstacle standing in the way of better service delivery and improved patient outcomes.

The daunting challenges facing the healthcare industry today make for compelling arguments to expand the role of analytics

The study confirmed that analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data, and help healthcare organizations deliver on efficiency improvements and better patient outcomes. In Australia the introduction of Activity Based Funding (ABF) has promoted the use of data as the essential input informing critical decisions by Managers, Administrators and Clinicians. Not surprisingly HHS are increasingly looking to move from data processing to data analysis and applying insights to financial outcomes. Australian HHS are just starting to recognise how the power of mathematics through analytics and optimisation can be utilised to consume, unlock and apply new insights from information.

Analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data

Despite the availability of new methods of analytics that can be used to drive clinical and operational improvements, Australian HHS continue to function with a traditional baseline of transaction monitoring using basic reporting tools, spreadsheets and application reporting. As in the US Health system Australian HHS must face-up to the challenge to move from the traditional model to one that incorporates predictive analytics and enables organizations to “see the future,” and create more personalised healthcare and predict patient behavior.

Advanced analytics and optimisation approaches can take full advantage of the ‘Data deluge’ to generate powerful insights which deliver better outcomes

Today, most HHS use some form of descriptive analytics. They are typically using reporting tools and applications descriptively to understand what has happened in the past and to classify and categorize historical data. However, as their analytics expectations mature, HHS are looking more toward predictive analytics techniques, which take an understanding of the past to predict future activities and model scenarios using simulation and forecasting. The report notes that Enterprise analytics, evidence-based medicine and clinical outcome analytics can all be supported by these more advanced capabilities. For example, analytics can enable the compilation of information about trends, patterns, deviations, anomalies and relationships and reveal key insights.Biarri Optimisation Software Banner

Some Hospital and Health Services are taking a proactive approach

Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) is one example of an Australian HHS organisation leading the way by embracing predictive analytics to improve demand for better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes. Most recently Biarri Optimisation worked with GCUH to enhance their understanding of expected future demand and to develop insight into opportunities to better allocate resources. Through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation GCUH improved their knowledge of forecasted demands for the next Financial Year, allowing improved capacity planning requirements for physical resources and staffing resources equating to better workforce optimisation.

Biarri and GCUH demonstrated the value of quantitative analysis in forecasting patient admissions and QWAUs and used this to provide more efficient capacity and resource planning.

For most organisations today, data visualisation, historic trend analysis and forecasting, and standardized reporting are the analytics elements that provide the most value. However, that is likely to change. The research showed that while data visualisation will always be a critical element, increased emphasis will be placed on simulations and scenario development and analytics that are applied within various business processes.

Biarri Commercial Mathematics

To learn more about how Biarri can help your HHS organisation benefit from advanced analytics and optimisation go to or contact

Sam Rowse: Email:, Mobile: +61 458 004 220

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