Institute for Mathematical Innovation

IMI Secondees 2017-2018

Joining IMI from seven departments at the University of Bath, our secondees utilise sophisticated mathematical methods to develop exciting new interdisciplinary research proposals, link up research across campus, and collaborate with industrial partners.

 

James BettsDr James Betts

Reader in Nutrition and Metabolism, Department for Health 


James’ research explores how components of energy balance (such as energy intake, energy expenditure, and energy storage) interact to regulate human health and physiological function. His work involves the study of metabolism in relations to diet, nutrition, exercise and physical activity.

Metabolism and nutritional requirements of individuals with skeletal dysplasia
During his secondment, James will work with IMI’s Commercial Research Associates to mathematically model how human body size and morphology relate to metabolism and nutritional requirements. In particular, his work will focus on individuals with skeletal dysplasia (commonly known as ‘dwarfism') to understand how the relative proportions of different tissues and organ systems can impact a person’s energy balance and make them predisposed towards obesity. Dietary guidelines are currently applied indiscriminately across adults; this work will inform more appropriate recommendations by recognising individual differences in human body sizes and proportions.

 

Gunes ErdoganDr Güneş Erdoğan

Reader in Management Science, School of Management


Güneş’ research focuses on exact and heuristic algorithms for integer and mixed-integer optimisation, and their applications to emergency services and airline logistics decisions such as vehicle location, routing, and crew scheduling. These factors are crucial for the effective and efficient operation of emergency and airline services.

Improving ambulance response times
During his secondment to IMI, Güneş will seek to use a relatively new mathematical technique called max-plus algebra to solve the problem of determining ambulance utilisation for a given configuration of ambulance stations, their capacities, and call volumes.

Current methods of estimating ambulance utilisation rely heavily on computer simulation, which is unfit to be used in conjunction with optimisation algorithms. By developing an analytical solution, Güneş hopes improving ambulance location and shift optimisation models, which can be used to shorten ambulance response times.


 

Evangelos EvangelouDr Evangelos Evangelou

Lecturer in Statistics, Department of Mathematical Sciences


Evangelos’ research interests lie within the field of Geostatistics, which is a framework for understanding and modelling spatial data. In particular, his research focuses on modelling correlated data of spatial and temporal nature, and their use in decision making. The methodology he uses is based on computational Bayes and analytical approximations.

Amongst others, Evangelos has used his research to analyse the emergence and spread of agricultural diseases, the need for mining tunnel reinforcements and to model radiation from a nuclear accident.

Innovation networks and technological development
Collaborating with Dr Paolo Zeppini, Evangelos will work on the statistical analysis of data from evolving networks, with particular emphasis on innovation networks. Networks are used to represent social interactions, and they are an ideal mathematical tool to help understand bottom-up social phenomena and bottom-up policy interventions.

During his secondment, Evangelos aims to develop a comprehensive framework for the statistical analysis of network data, which can be used in studies of technological development within the social sciences.

Dr Evangelou and Dr Zeppini’s secondment project is part of a larger IMI research project on the dynamics of cumulative innovation in complex social systems

 

Susanne GebhardDr Susanne Gebhard 

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology & Biochemistry


Susanne’s research interest is understanding how bacteria react to the presence of antibiotics in their environment. Her research focuses on how these tiny organisms detect antibiotics and use this information to ‘decide’ on the most appropriate response. As this is the first step in antibiotic resistance, understanding the underlying processes is fundamental in tackling this global health problem.

Multiple resistance systems in bacteria
During her secondment to IMI, Susanne will collaborate with Dr Tim Rogers to understand how multiple resistance systems in a bacterium work together as a network to provide maximum protection against antibiotics.

Research has shown that a malfunction in one resistance system can be compensated for by the rest of the network. Using experimental data, Dr Gebhard and Dr Rogers will develop mathematical models that can explain how each system detects if the others are functioning correctly, and how the network responds to failures. Ultimately, this may lead to the identification of an ‘Achilles’ heel’ which can be exploited in the development of new treatments for bacterial infections.

 

Eike MullerDr Eike Müller

Lecturer in Scientific Computing, Department of Mathematical Sciences


Eike's research interests lie in Scientific Computing and the development of fast solvers for large systems of equations on supercomputers. He also has a strong interest in the development of algorithms for Graphics Processing Units, which may be used by the Met Office's next generation of forecast models. Working with the Met Office, Eike has successfully implemented multigrid-solvers for the atmospheric equations of motion, and tested their performance and scalability on modern supercomputers, solving systems with up to 0.5x1012 unknowns.

Improving Met Office weather forecasting
Accurate weather and climate forecasts are important for all parts of society. To improve weather forecasting, Eike works with the Met Office to implement novel algorithms for solving a key equation, which constitutes a computational bottleneck in numerical forecast models. These targeted multigrid methods reduce the solution time by at least a factor two and allow the Met Office to produce better forecasts by solving more accurate models in a shorter time. Eike’s IMI secondment project will ensure these benefits are realised in the Met Office's operational codes. In addition to this, Eike will also address significant software engineering challenges in what is one of the world's foremost atmospheric models.

 

Alain NogaretDr Alain Nogaret

Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics


Working in experimental and theoretical nonlinear science, Alain builds exact models of biological neurons, conceives neuromorphic devices and studies their nonlinear dynamics.  
 
Alain has also built large scale nonlinear optimisation tools that achieved the only successful fit of conductance models to in-vitro recordings. He has also conceived central pattern generators, which are finding important applications in the regulation of cardiorespiratory rhythms. 
 
Conditioning neural network implants
The aim of Alain’s secondment to IMI is to identify mathematical methods for constructing models of central pattern generators through the assimilation of electrophysiological data which incorporate experimental uncertainty. 
 
Currently, the parameters of the generator hardware his research group makes are tuned “by hand”. The mathematical models will be used to automatically condition these small VLSI (very large scale integration) neural network implants, which adapt their stimulation to physiological information they received from the body. 
 
Neural implants have a number of benefits for heart failure therapy. By improving these, Alain’s secondment project will contribute to the development of safer and less invasive therapies to treat this chronic disease.


 

Dimitris ParaskevopoulosDr Dimitris Paraskevopoulos

Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management, School of Management


Dimitris’ scientific interests are in the areas of Analytics and Optimisation for Project Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management and Transportation and Distribution Logistics. His research is focused on the design, development, and application of mathematical models, operations research methods and computationally efficient algorithms to enable optimisation-based decision support systems in operations planning, and resource scheduling.

Improving search and rescue operations at sea
When a maritime accident happens, authorities must respond immediately to search for and rescue survivors. However, search and rescue (SAR) operations need to be constantly adapted to changing circumstances and information, such as weather conditions, the availability of resources (e.g. helicopters and boats) and the estimated location of the survivors.

Dimitris’ IMI Secondment project will seek to maximise the number of survivors of maritime accidents by developing a decision support tool which will help operations managers utilise SAR resources efficiently throughout the entire operation.


 

Andrew PlummerProfessor Andrew Plummer

Professor of Machine Systems, Department of Mechanical Engineering


Andrew conducts research into the dynamics and control of mechanical systems. In particular, his research focuses on modelling and controller design for high performance multi-axis motion control systems which are used in robotics, flight, and earthquake simulation. Andrew has a particular interest in servohydraulic actuation, but he also works with electromagnetic actuators and smart materials, and develops new motion control technology such as piezoelectrically actuated servovalves.

Dynamic machines
Future dynamic machines will have better integration of their actuators and structure, so that they are lighter, faster, more adaptable, use less energy and more human-friendly. Good examples are shape-changing aircraft wings which adapt their aerodynamic form to flying conditions, and light but powerful human-friendly robotic manipulators which interact safely with human co-workers. During his secondment to IMI, Andrew will work with IMI’s Commercial Research Associates to develop ways of mathematically optimising these active structures to meet engineering requirements for range of motion, stiffness, and strength.

 


Paolo ZeppiniDr Paolo Zeppini

Lecturer in Environmental economics, Department of Economics


Paolo works at the interface of economic theory, environmental economics, and innovation studies. With a keen interest in economics and policy analysis of sustainable transitions, he develops models of decision making and human behaviour using a multidisciplinary approach that builds on economic theory, network theory, statistical mechanics and evolutionary thinking.

Innovation networks and technological development

Collaborating with Dr Evangelos Evangelou, Paolo will work on the statistical analysis of data from evolving networks, with particular emphasis on innovation networks. Networks are used to represent social interactions, and they are an ideal mathematical tool to help understand bottom-up social phenomena and bottom-up policy interventions.

The aim of Paolo's secondment is to develop a comprehensive framework for the statistical analysis of network data, which is applicable to studies of technological development within the social sciences.

Dr Zeppini and Dr Evangelou’s secondment project is part of a larger IMI research project on the dynamics of cumulative innovation in complex social systems