MI*Net runs frequent seminars to show how mathematics can be used to help Australian businesses solve their technical problems. Details of seminar venues and times will be posted here.

2 May 2001 Food for thought—how Mathematics can help solve your technical problems

Wednesday 2 May 2001
5:15-6:45 pm
South Australian Centre for Manufacturing

This seminar will discuss a variety of case studies in which Mathematics has played a part in their solution.

Food safety and preparation of food is now a major issue of global significance. Recent events in South Australia with both fresh produce and manufactured foods, and the current disease concerns with livestock in Europe have thrust this topic into the spotlight.

Presenters for this forum will be Kieran Murphy from Food Science Australia in Werribee, whose particular area of expertise is atomisation and micro-encapsulation; Stuart Andrews from UniSA, who has had over 25 years consulting experience in the Food Industry with major research interests including food safety and quality control, and Phil Howlett and David Panton, who are involved in the organisation of the Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group and the Mathematics-in-Industry Network (MI*Net) at the University of South Australia.

Stuart Andrews will discuss food safety case studies. Specific examples will include the preparation of salads and storage temperatures of food, their impact on food quality and the determination of the shelf life of a new product. These case studies will address the bigger picture of Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).

Kieran Murphy will discuss the managerial and technical difficulties encountered by grape growers in protecting their crop, putting into context the commercial relevance of the problem. A potted history of the advances and blockages experienced in using an experimental approach to this problem and what led to consideration of the MISG approach. The relevance of these concepts to other areas of the food industry will be considered.

In the final part of this seminar David Panton will describe other problems involving the food industry studied at MISG, and provide an overview of MISG and how it can be used as a problem solving forum. Finally Phil Howlett will look at the role of a Mathematics-in-Industry Network (MI*Net) in providing information to Australian Companies about smart solutions.

Past seminars

March 2001 Australian Foundry Institute (Queensland Chapter)

Mr Mithirin Kirupairajah discussed how the Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group has helped Toowoomba Foundry solve their technical problems.

February 2001 Manufacturing Society of Australia (ManSA)
The Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group: How Mathematics can help solve some of Industry's Difficult Technical Problems

Since the mid 1980s the Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group has been a major event on the Australian Applied Mathematics scene. MISG is an annual workshop where Industry is invited to present hard technical problems to groups of Mathematicians who seek workable solutions. Past workshops have looked at a great diversity of problems from a very broad range of Industry sectors, ranging in size from large corporations to SMEs.

In this seminar we outlined the scope of these problems and how MISG works. We also discussed some details of an associated Technology Diffusion Program whose objective is to establish a National MISG network (MI*Net) aimed at broadening the scope of MISG. In particular MI*Net will involve the cooperation of Industry support groups such as SACFM and The Business Centre, and Industry Societies such as ManSA. Some of our challenges include the creation of greater awareness of the use of mathematics as a problem solving tool, and the breaking down of barriers between Industry and Universities.

The speakers were Dr David Panton and Professor Phil Howlett from the University of South Australia.

November 2000 Resource allocation and scheduling

A presentation at SACFM on November 21 was aimed at presenting two good news stories related to past Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group (MISG) projects to people from Business and Industry. The theme of the event was Resource Allocation and Scheduling. The aim of this presentation was to promote one particular type of problem category which has been a feature of MISG workshops for a number of years, namely in the area of Operations Research/Management Science. The key ingredient of this seminar was to use industry representatives themselves to promote the MISG workshop as a valuable problem solving forum. The services of Mr Herbert Hruby from Southcorp and Mr Steve Pyne from Boral Resources were engaged to discuss projects in which they were involved at past MISG workshops. The Boral presentation involved a discussion of Quarry Portfolio Optimisation, a project which was considered at MISG 2000. The Southcorp presentation involved a discussion of Scheduling Tirage Sparkling Wine Production, a project considered at MISG in 1991. The seminar was attended by 57 industry people representing 27 separate companies.

November 2000 MI*Net and the MISG

On November 6 a presentation was made at The Business Centre in Adelaide to promote the MI*Net and MISG concepts. The presentation was attended by 16 client managers from The Business Centre and 14 from the South Australian Centre for Manufacturing (SACFM). Professor Phil Howlett spoke about our intentions to establish an Australia wide network to promote the application of mathematical solutions to industry's technical and organisational problems, and the various mechanisms planned to enable this. Dr David Panton spoke about the MISG workshop concept and outlined the breadth and scope of projects considered in past MISGs.

Our preparations for this seminar were assisted by Ms Deb Branford and Mr Kevin O'Callaghan.