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!

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).

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First Melbourne Maths and Science Meetup

This Tuesday (21st of August) – Tomorrow – I will be holding the first Melbourne Maths and Science Meetup. It will be held at RMIT, in the Physics Building (information about the location is below).

The idea of the group is to gather together scientists and mathematicians of all types, and have them present a technical topic in their field. There will be around 3 presentations each night, with time for small little questions to be posed to the group as a whole. After each meeting we will head to a local pub for drinks, which Biarri will sponsor!

I invite anyone in Melbourne who is interested in Maths and any type of Science to come down and furthermore, to present on any topic that you may find interesting!

Please do sign up to the Meetup group, and I look forward to seeing you there on Tuesday!

Location details

The RMIT expression for the particular room is “14.6.13”, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, means “Building 14, Level 6, Room 13”. To be more helpful, it means you should enter at the front of RMIT, from Swanston St, head generally left, past the cafeteria, go to the lifts, go to level 6, and then continue heading left until you meet a glass door. Then, you should call me, as the door will likely be locked. My phone number can be found on the Meetup group website.