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Research meetup 13 – Cleaning Up Oceans from Plastic Faster with Optimization
Jean Pauphilet (London Business School)
Over 8 million tons of plastic are poured in the seas every year, damaging entire ecosystems from the coastlines up to the open waters. Because of marine currents, a large fraction of this plastic then accumulates in specific areas of the oceans, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) in the Pacific ocean. The Ocean Cleanup is a Dutch nonprofit whose mission is to clean up 90% of ocean plastic pollution. They have developed a technology similar to a fishing net to capture floating and have been operating in the GPGP since mid 2021. In collaboration with the Ocean Cleanup, we designed an efficient dynamic optimization algorithm to find routes in the GPGP that maximize the amount of plastic collected, while taking into account weather (wave height, wind speed) and plastic dynamics. Simulation showed that our optimization-based strategy nearly doubles the average plastic collection yield, thus accelerating the race to plastic-free oceans.
Research meetup 12 – Supporting Brazilian Smallholder Farmers to Distribute their Produce through Institutional Markets
Andrea Tuni (Politecnico di Torino)
Smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable communities in developing countries due to poverty and social exclusion, lacking a stable income due to inconsistent access to markets. Aiming to tackle rural poverty, Brazilian government established institutional markets for smallholder farmers to supply their produce to schools through a non-competitive bidding mechanism. Participation of farmers to these institutional markets remains still limited due to challenges in the evaluation of the profitability of participating to each call of the bidding mechanism and in the planning and coordination of the distribution activities. A decision support system (DSS) was developed to guide farmers on the different stages of the institutional markets participation, including the definition of the optimal strategies for bidding and contract acceptance, as well as the optimisation of the distribution activities through a Heterogeneous Fleet Split Delivery Vehicle Routing Problem, aiming to maximise the profits for farmers. The DSS was applied to the case study of Canudos settlement (Goiás state) and is progressively being embedded in Progressive Web Apps to maximise its real-life impact. The proposed approach has a significant social impact for 1.5 million vulnerable smallholder farmers in Brazil and can substantially improve their living conditions by providing security of income and reducing poverty, thus strengthening inclusive agricultural growth.
Research meetup 11 – Reshaping National Organ Allocation Policy
Nikos Trichakis (MIT)
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is overhauling its organ allocation policies in a generational change, aiming for more efficient and equitable outcomes. We introduce a novel analytical framework to enable dynamic exploration of the efficient frontier of policy options. Jointly with OPTN, we applied our framework to the design of a new allocation policy for lungs, which was eventually approved for implementation. From 2023, all lungs in the U.S. will be allocated according to the said policy, projected to reduce waitlist mortality by >20% compared to current policy. (joint work with Ted Papalexopoulos, Dimitris Bertsimas, James Alcorn, Rebecca Goff and Darren Stewart)
Research meetup 10 – Learning and Planning Under Uncertainty for Wildlife Conservation
Lily Xu (Harvard University)
Wildlife poaching fuels the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade and pushes countless species to the brink of extinction. To aid rangers in preventing poaching in protected areas around the world, we have developed PAWS, the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security. We present technical advances in multi-armed bandits and robust sequential decision-making using reinforcement learning, with research questions that emerged from on-the-ground challenges. We also discuss bridging the gap between research and practice, presenting results from field tests in Cambodia and large-scale deployment through integration with SMART, the leading software system for protected area management used by over 1,000 wildlife parks worldwide.
Analytics for a Better World – Launch Conference
Bringing together our key partners
We are organising a launching conference to bring together our key partners, researchers and (potential) sponsors. Our aim is to inspire each other, share ABW’s vision and plans and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Research meetup 9 – Saving lives by efficient use of emergency medical response vehicles
Karen Aardal, Delft University of Technology
In this seminar we will review emergency medical response vehicle location models and dispatch algorithms with a focus on ambulances on wheels and helicopters.
Research meetup 8 – Space technology for social and environmental impact
Lisa Broekhuizen and Elke Sauter (Space4Good, Den Haag, The Netherlands)
This session explores the use of remote sensing, geospatial analysis and artificial intelligence to provide novel geospatial insights for increased operational efficiency and data-driven transparency.
Research meetup 7 – Redesigning Sample Transportation in Malawi Through Improved Data Sharing and Daily Route Optimization
Emma Gibson (MIT, Cambridge, USA)
Centralized diagnostic networks play a critical role in the delivery of essential healthcare services in resource-limited settings. We propose a two-part system that uses a low-cost, feature phone data sharing platform to monitor sample volumes at healthcare facilities, and an optimized sample transportation model to generate efficient routes for ST couriers on a daily basis. Since implementation, the proportion of unnecessary courier trips has been reduced by 55% and average ST delays have been shortened by an estimated 25%.
Research meetup 6 – Analytics for the Design of Gravity-Driven Water Distribution Systems for Poor Rural Communities: the NeatWork Tool
Jean-Philippe Vial (Geneva, Switzerland)
NeatWork is an optimization and simulation tool for the design of water-distribution systems with the aim of providing clean water to poor rural communities.
Research meetup 5 – Analytics-Enabled Health System Innovation
Retsef Levi (MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA)
This talk describes the implementation of data- and analytics-driven innovation in health systems. In particular, it is focused on innovation around operations, system design, and optimization of large delivery systems.
Research meetup 4 – Analytics to improve mobility for elderly and disabled citizen
Frans de Ruiter (CQM, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
In this webinar, we highlight the benefits of analytics in assisted door-to-door travel on long distances for elderly and disabled people.
Research meetup 3 – Analytics in the fight against cancer – the radiation therapy example
Thomas Bortfeld (Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA) & Jennifer Pursley (Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA)
In this lecture we will discuss analytics contributions to address the main challenges in cancer diagnosis and treatment: 1. Localizing the tumor, 2. hitting the tumor but not the surrounding healthy organs-at-risk (OAR), and 3. individualizing the treatment approach and “optimal stopping”. We will focus on radiation therapy, one the main pillars of cancer treatment and arguably the most quantitative cancer specialty.