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Sci+Tech in the City

Sci+Tech in the City

Co-presented by CSIRO Data61, Risklab Australia and the Australian Society of Operations Research

Sci+Tech in the City is a series of short talks hosted by CSIRO Data61 in Melbourne, held every second Thursday evening from 4:30pm until around 6pm, between 12 April 2018 and 1 November 2018. At least three speakers and sometimes more will present on selected topics within a theme, with the talks ranging from innovation stories, to showcases of science, to demonstrations of technology. Join us for any, some, or all of the evening sessions over the series. Network over finger food and drinks with experts and colleagues from industry, government and the research community at Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station.


Data61’s Demonstration Space is in an easy-to-reach location. It is a bit funky, and it is also a bit cozy. We have space for around 40 attendees each week. This means that registration is essential. This is quick and easy to do: see our EventBrite registration page. Although registration is free, attendees are encouraged to make a donation on the day to the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s David Sier Foundation, which is named in honour of Operations Research and analytics pioneer David Sier. David, a founding member of CSIRO’s OR Group in 1993, worked tirelessly in BSL’s Brain Bank until his passing in 2016.

Sci+Tech in the City 2018

Series Four

About our speakers and topics from 26 July 2018 until 15 November 2018


The user’s experience of digital technology is of great importance whether we’re interested in helping people be productive, encouraging people to adopt new things, or educating and socially empowering people. At this week in Sci+Tech in the City, all of this matters, and our speakers bring experience in UX applied research (Xavier Ho, Data61 Docklands), engaging users around cybersecurity (Jacob Abbott, Indiana University), helping farmers engage in the complexity of Carbon Markets of the future (Cara Stitzlein, Data61 Hobart), and building virtual reality systems that enable people to experience phenomena such as Dementia (Andrew Vouliotis, Deakin University).

Week Two – 09 August 2018 – SPATIAL DATA (acquiring, wrestling and using it!)

Data about our cities, landscape, oceans, populations and infrastructure not only looks great when mapped, but increasingly drives exceptionally important decisions in the public and private sector. Getting hold of spatial data and preparing it for informative use is often far from easy: especially when data is difficult or expensive to acquire, or changes over time. Mahesh Prakash (Data61) will describe GeoStack technology (2018 winner at the Spatial Industry Awards) for “tiled” spatial data and show examples of its use for fire and flood impact analysis. Tony Wilson (Geomatic Technologies) has been involved in data sourcing, wrangling, cleansing and communication in a range of domains, including electricity sector, and will pass on learnings from his many years in a commercial spatial business. Veronica Quinless (CSIRO) will introduce the Array of Things city sensing system that is being brought to Australia from Argonne Labs in the USA, and may start to be deployed in test installations within the next few months, and Marie Truelove (Data61) will present on research into relating social media content to times and places where significant event such as crimes occur.


Leonid Churilov (University of Melbourne) and Vicky Mak (Deakin University) together with Rajiv Jayasena (from the Victorian contingent of the CSIRO Australian e-Health Research Centre, AEHRC) are today’s presenters. Between them, they will explore the role of analytics and optimisation in clinical and non-clinical applications in the health sector. Leonid is the 2016 recipient of the Ren Potts Medal, which awarded by the Australian Society for Operations Research for outstanding contributions to the field, and the value of rapid response to stroke events is one of his focus areas. Vicky has been involved in several applied research engagements in health over her career spanning almost two decades, and Rajiv heads up CSIRO’s data-and-digital health presence in Victoria.

Week Four – 06 September 2018 – THE DIGITAL HUMAN

Simulation modelling of the human body and its internal processes is a fascinating topic and there’s a wealth of applied research expertise across Melbourne. Sci+Tech in the City this week has four speakers covering sports performance, rehabilitation, food and digestion, and workplace safety: Kay Crossley (Latrobe University), Dan Billing (DST Group), Peter Lee (University of Melbourne) and Simon Harrison (Data61).

Week Five- 20 September 2018 – SOCIAL INSIGHTS USING DATA

This week we will hear from Michelle Gallaher (The Social Science), Victorian 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Jenny Zhang (RMIT University) and Claire Mason (Data 61, Fortitude Valley). They will share their experiences in the use of social media to understand and inform around health, automation and the future of work, as well as how successful people are in differentiating between real and fake news, and placing their trust in social media.

Week Six – 11 October 2018 – OPTIMISATION

On 11 October we return to the theme of optimisation, and put a spotlight on infrastructure, matching and decision support. Our speakers are Keith Joshi from Biarri Commercial Mathematics, an Australian success story in the use of optimisation and analytics to deliver delivery support and build strong businesses. From an energy systems and optimisation methods perspective, Semini Wijekoon (Monash University) will describe the development of national electricity grid planning systems, while at the other end of the energy systems spectrum Hansani Weeratunge (Melbourne University) will report on optimisation-based studies of solar-assisted geothermal systems for buildings. Emil Mittag (AI and ML Engineer at orchestrated.) will round out this edition of Sci+Tech in the City describing the fusion of ML and optimisation to solve commercially important decision problems.

Week Seven – 25 October 2018 – FIRE

The topic this week is fire, specifically bushfire. Our speakers are involved in fire prediction and fire spread modelling, fire preparedness and response, and fire risk assessment and mitigation. Our speakers are Rachel Bessell (Victorian CFA) who will talk about CFA’s approaches to understanding, predicting and responding to fire; Glenn Newnham (CSIRO Land & Water) will give an overview of work critically examining and building construction standards for bushfire protection and survivability; Will Swedosh (Data 61) will talk about the use of bushfire simulation and high performance computing as a key part of assessing fire risk for regions; and David Mercereau (ENEA Australia) will discuss using bushfire risk assessments to optimise asset management.

Week Eight – 01 November 2018 – MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRY 4.0

This week we are please to host talks and demos by Michael Edwards from Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T) Australia; Reza Hoseinnezhad (RMIT) who will talk on computer vision in manufacturing, Larry Quick (Resilient Futures) on disruption and change in manufacturing as well as our cities and economies more  generally, and Carolyn Huston (Data 61) on re-inventing manufacturing analytics for the AI age (a joint presentation with Nissan Casting).

Week Nine- 15 November 2018 – ANALYTICS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR – Postponed

Due to government care-taker mode, this event has been postponed till 2019. See you next year!

Last Mile Logistics Workshop – 6 December 2018 – a Sci+Tech in the City Special Event

Co-hosted with Georgia Tech (USA), ASOR, Data61 and the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA).

Rydges Hotel, Parkville, 1.30-5.30pm, 6 December 2018

The last mile is a metaphor used to describe the movement of goods from a fulfilment centre to their final destination. In other words, the last mile is the last leg of your product’s trip before it arrives on your customer’s doorstep.” –

“… Although the name implies it is the final mile delivery, actual last mile delivery can range from a few blocks to 50 or 100 miles … Most often, last mile logistics involves the use of parcel or small package carriers to deliver products to consumers.” –

“… in our view, last mile logistics is about much more than delivery system technologies, and fleet, transport and pick optimisation. It is involves gaining customer-oriented insights into market opportunities, expectations, requirements and experiences; sensing and measuring how the system is operating; effectively managing across businesses of sometimes vastly varying sizes, capabilities and complexities; and where automation is involved, ensuring that technology and people work safely, securely and effectively together.“ – CSIRO Data61

This four-hour workshop has been crafted to inform and inspire professionals in transport, logistics, marketing and digitally-enabled commerce, as well as students and researcher in cyberphysical technologies, data analytics, AI and optimisation. It is a satellite event of the ASOR/DORS 2018 Conference.

The workshop’s keynote speaker is Hugh Donald Ratliff from Georgia Tech (USA). Don Ratliff is presently the Executive Director of the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation and Research Center, and a Partner at Supply Chain Ventures, LLC.

Registration and more information at Eventbrite .


Series Three

Week One – 12 April 2018 – CYBERSECURITY

Our speakers in this first Sci+Tech in the City for 2018 are Prof Asha Rao (RMIT), Surya Nepal (Data61 Sydney) and Prof L. Jean Camp (Indiana University), and in this installment we return to the topic of cybersecurity. Jean Camp is currently visiting Data61 in Melbourne and is a renowned researcher in the social and economic implications of technologies of security and privacy. Asha Rao will discuss education in cybersecurity risk, and Surya Nepal will present on the work of Data61’s Distributed Systems Security research group which he leads.


We’ve put together a diverse set of four speakers for this week, and at this stage have full confirmation from three. Professor Mark Wallace ( Monash University and Opturion) who will talk about life at the intersection of academia and commercial optimisation. Nicholas Davey (U. Melbourne) has been combining optimisation and real options techniques in his research, and will talk at Sci+Tech in the City about designing road routes and operating policies that keep animal populations somewhat safer than usual, while Dhirendra Singh (RMIT) will talk about keeping people safe from the progress of natural hazards (such as fires and flash floods) through modelling evacuation with Agent Based techniques. A fourth invited speaker that we hope to confirm will come from an international transport data business.

Melbourne Knowledge Week – 10 May 2018

Sci+Tech in the City is supporting Melbourne Knowledge Week by holding a hands-on (well, heads-on) virtual reality session from 1pm to 8pm in the Data61 Demo Room. Applications will include bushfires, metal 3D printing and biomolecular simulations. Mike Kuiper and Ken Aloysius from Data61 will be the chief demonstrators.


This week we are please to host talks and demos by Kim Marriott (Monash), Ulrich Engelke (Data61 Hobart) and Matt Bolger (Data61 Melbourne), on topics in the science and practice of data visualization, human-in-the-loop data discovery, and the use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to immerse people in data-driven environments for training, insight and decision-making. We also hope to have a fourth guest that will build on one of our favourite talks from last year by Tanya Petrovich about Dementia Australia’s VR facility in Parkville.

Week Four – 31 May 2018 – ROBOTICS AND MATERIALS

Our four speakers this week are: Danielle Kennedy (CSIRO Manufacturing) who heads up the Active Integrated Matter (AIM) future science platform in CSIRO; Gary Delaney (Data61 Docklands) who will talk about a new kind of robot arm that is composed of granular materials rolling and locking against each other; Santiago Corujeira Gallo (Deakin University) who will speak about the Deakin-based mineAlloy training centre and about rapid alloy development; and Deidre Cleland (Data61 Docklands) on using high performance computing to simulate the properties of materials at the atomic and molecular scale.


Due to the emergent unavailability of key speakers for this week, we have postponed this installment of Sci+Tech in the City and will reschedule it for Q4 2018.


Please note we will be running with a revised starting time of 4.30pm for this week and the rest of winter. It gets cold and dark too early!

In the last Sci+Tech in the City for the financial year our theme is data-driven innovation, and we have SIX speakers who’ve been immersed in creating businesses, products and ecosystems around data and technology in Victoria. Our format will be a bit different this week, it will mix short talks and group Q&A. Each speaker’s innovation journeys and roles differ greatly, and so together they will paint a diverse picture of innovation, challenge and success. Tim Fist from Digital Agriculture Services will discuss his current and immediately-previous lives in successful medium-sized startups; Angela Stubbs (City of Kingston) will describe what it is like to start a journey as the customer for novel trade waste exchange solutions, yet end up as one of the key custodians and creative forces in the innovation itself; Ben Kloester (Data61 Melbourne) will talk about his innovation journey through industry and into a product management role in the science and tech organisation that is Data61; Andrew Terhorst (Data61 Hobart) will explain Open Innovation from a conceptual and practical point of view; Bronwen Clune (LaunchVic) will tell us about the role government-supported programs play in the innovation ecosystem; and we will welcome the return of Susie Jones (Cynch Security) who’ll update us on the journey of a micro-startup that is seeking to address the cybersecurity needs of Australian SMEs.

We also have arranged for startup craft brewers CoConspirators Brewing Co to supply some of the drinks and tell a bit of their story as well. It’ll be grand!


Sci+Tech in the City Series Two

About our speakers and topics in the current series in November 2017…

Week One – 9 November 2017 – INNOVATION WITH IoT

They say that soon there will be almost as many smart, chatty, connected, wireless devices in the world as there are eyes and ears across the whole of humanity. This is the so-called Internet of Things. Nico Adams from IMCRC will kick us off with an overview of what this can mean for manufacturing in Australia: how innovation in advanced and digital technologies will transform manufacturing business models, processes and services. Chanel Costabir from AusPost/Receva will describe the development and recent launch of the Receva Smart Mailbox which has won three Melbourne Design Awards and is a finalist in the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards. Smart Wearables as part of the great IoT universe will be the third topic, addressed by Data61 Sydney’s Sara Khalifa who recently wrote about wearables and energy harvesting in The way we walk can be used to power and secure our devices for The Conversation.

Week Two – 16 November 2017 – OPTIMISATION

Operations Research is the original Analytics science, and optimisation remains a hot research topic as well as a rapidly maturing commercial offering in Australia. This week in Sci+Tech in the City we will welcome Alan Dormer from Opturion who will lift the lid on some successful industrial applications of constraint programming, Reena Kapoor from Data61 Melbourne on her story so far as an OR professional, and Ariel Liebman from Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute (MEMSI) on energy systems optimisation.

Week Three – 23 November 2017 – CYBERSECURITY AND RISK

Speakers this week are Mark Bentley (Risklab Australia) describing the development of quantitative risk models for cybersecurity in corporations, Paul Rimba (Data61 Melbourne) on cybersecurity tech, and Marthie Grobler (Data61 Melbourne) who will talk about her work in South Africa and Australia on cybersecurity and the psychology of technology and technology users.

Week Four – 30 November 2017 – HEALTH, BIOMECHANICS AND BIONICS

In the final Sci + Tech in the City for 2017, Dr Tanya Petrovich from Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria will talk about challenges and innovation opportunities from the perspective of her organisation. We will also hear from Prof Nick Barnes from ANU and Data61 Canberra about the Bionic Eye project, and Ray Cohen from Data61 Melbourne about coupled fluid and biomechanical modelling that is giving insight into injury prevention in diving, and the Dive Mechanic application that is used to help optimise the techniques of olympic divers.


Sci+Tech in the City Series One

About our speakers and topics in mid 2017

Week One – 8 June 2017 – BUSHFIRES & FLOODS

Our very first Sci+Tech session features Lalitha Ramachandran (Director, EcoSens), Elizabeth Ryan (RMIT) and Mahesh Prakash (Data61) talking about how mathematics and computer modelling is being used to simulate bushfires and floods, design engineering mitigations against flooding and sea-level rise, and build new ways of preparing and responding to natural hazards.

Week Two – 15 June 2017 – HEALTH & SPORT (1)

Sci+Tech in the City features two sessions on engineering, analytics and computer modelling applied to sports performance and health. This first installment features Marcus Pandy from the University of Melbourne; Simon Harrison from Data61 talking about modelling chewing and digestion (as featured as part of The science of taste, or why you choose fries over broccoli, in the Conversation, ABC and SBS in late May); and Gary Delaney from Data61 discussing computational modelling and the use of Workspace to create design and analysis applications for Oventus‘ sleep apnoea device.

Week Three – 22 June 2017 – SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media provides an information source that can help us understand people’s emotions across the globe at any instant, detect earthquakes, and deliver government services. Our speakers this week are Amanda Dennett (Dept Human Services) who will discuss how Centrelink uses social media to engage and as a service channel, Cecile Paris (ATSE Fellow and Data61 Sydney) on tracking changes in resources companies’ social licence to operate using statistics and social media, and Yury Kryvasheyeu (Data61 Melbourne) on assessing natural disaster damage using social media traffic intensity.

Week Four – 06 July 2017 – DATA!

Data is everywhere. Everyone is talking about it. But nobody talks about it nearly as well as the three speakers we have lined up for our Data! session in week four. Our speakers are Peter Dahlhaus (Federation Uni) on spatial data platforms for decision support, Pierre Lelong (ENEA Consulting) on using smart meter data to map electricity networks, and Caron Chen (Data61) who will discuss using night-time satellite imagery to map economic intensity in European and Asian cities.


Everyone is interested in cybersecurity aren’t they? We are! And so are our speakers: Susie Jones (Auspost and Cynch Security), Chris Leckie (University of Melbourne) and Liming Zhu (Data61).

Week Six – 20 July 2017 – POWERLINES & BUSHFIRES

In February 2009, 173 people died as a result of the Black Saturday bushfires, many due to fires started by powerlines. This has led to the Victorian Government investing $750M into the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program, where the funding is being spent on asset upgrades and research in analytics and fault detection technologies. Tonight’s speakers are Ashley Hunt (Director of the Powerline Bushfire Safety Program and Energy Emergency Management, in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) on Victoria’s Powerline Bushfire Safety Program, Dene Ward from Citipower-Powercor, and Simon Dunstall (Decision Sciences, Data61) on wildfire risk analytics in Australia and Chile.

Week Eight – 03 August 2017 – SUPERANNUATION (jointly organised with RiskLab as its monthly seminar series)

FOUR talks about research and practice in the superannuation industry, featuring Professor Deborah Ralston from Monash/ACFS on the topic of the Monash-CSIRO Superannuation Research Cluster,  Data61’s Alec Stephenson on data-driven analysis of superannuation draw-down behaviour, George Nassios (‎Investment Advisor Escala Partners) providing insight into the super funds industry and Professor Colin O’Hare from Monash University Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics on the topic of pricing longevity risk. This last event in the series will run to the later finish time of 7pm, and we will provide extra seating.

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