Hall's research featured in new publication
released at British parliamentary event

The results of a research project co-authored by Department of Management Sciences Professor Nicholas G. Hall will be featured in a new publication, Engaging Maths, which will be released at a British parliamentary reception in London.

The research project “Mathematical Models for Rescheduling in Manufacturing Systems” was funded from July 2002 through December 2004 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom.

The February reception at the House of Commons is a forum to showcase and discuss publicly funded mathematical and statistical research that has made substantial contributions to enhancing the U.K. economy and society in general. Members of Parliament, industry executives and British media will be in attendance at the reception.

“EPSRC is the major source of public funding for scientific research in the U.K., similar to the National Science Foundation in the U.S.,” Hall said.

Fisher scholars contributed to three research articles developed from the EPSCR-funded project. The first two, co-authored by Professor Hall and Chris Potts, a professor at the University of Southampton, will be published in the leading academic journal Operations Research. A third article, co-authored by a Fisher doctoral candidate Zhixin Liu, will be published in INFORMS Journal on Computing.

"The algorithms presented in the three research papers show a company how to restore the efficiency of its production process quickly after a disruption," Hall said. Examples of disruptions that occur frequently in manufacturing processes include late deliveries by suppliers, unexpected new orders, changes in prices or priorities or changes in available production resources.

"Previous research published in academic journals used heuristic, or approximate, methods for restoring production schedules," he said. The algorithms developed by Hall and his colleagues provided optimal algorithms which, reschedule in the cheapest way possible. This improved approach has the potential to save companies substantial costs during a rescheduling process.