Con Nikakis - Centre for Informatics and Applied Optimization

Centre for Informatics and Applied Optimization – CIAO
Commercial Capability Statement
CIAO provides state of the art research knowledge for application in commercial, industrial and
government sectors. Its expertise lies in the fields of optimization, data mining, health informatics,
mathematical and statistical analysis, knowledge modelling, virtual reality and simulation, internet
commerce security, and communication technology. It is this expertise that can improve the efficiency
and international competitiveness of Australian industry.
Recent projects have been undertaken with industry partners in the areas of energy, defence,
education, health, information technology, telecommunications, environment, finance and law.
Located within the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences at the University of
Ballarat, CIAO has become a nationally recognised research centre, delivering basic research, applied
research and the technologies that underpin applications in these areas. CIAO brings together key
fields of research in mathematics and information technology.
Applied Optimization
Industry and government can potentially make significant improvements in productivity and
competitiveness by applying new knowledge in optimization and informatics. Researchers in CIAO are
world leaders in the development of optimization methods which can be applied to large complex,
systems with many variables and which do not rely on assumptions of smoothness and convexity.
Significantly more powerful than many traditional approaches, these methods are capable of addressing
problems with thousands of variables to achieve significant productivity benefits. Importantly, tailored
algorithms developed by CIAO researchers do not require large-scale computing infrastructure.
Recent work with a major gas producer has the potential to save the organisation many millions of
Examples where the application of this knowledge can potentially deliver significant benefits to industry
and government are in:
Production and supply of strategic resources (oil, gas, water, power)
Telecommunications infrastructure planning and efficient utilization
Pharmaceutical design
Transportation infrastructure and planning
Risk management
Manufacturing/process engineering
Mathematical Analysis and Optimization
As well as applications dependent on optimization techniques, CIAO has world renowned expertise in
mathematical and statistical analysis, which is being applied to major projects in Defence, environment
and health. The most up-to-date and powerful of these techniques are available within CIAO, for
application to analysis and or problem solving in real world situations.
Current examples of where this knowledge is being applied are in:
Developing new optimization algorithms
Population sampling
Vegetation analysis and modelling
Data Mining and Decision Support
Organisations collect vast amounts of data on a daily basis. Although they have this “wealth” of data
many are frustrated by the difficulties in extracting crucial information from data storages on which to
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base critical decisions. In addition, many are unable to use this data intelligently to discover important
relationships and global patterns that exist within.
Researchers within CIAO are using advanced data mining and informatics techniques to extract and
analyse data. The extracted data can be used in developing intelligent knowledge based systems.
Powerful methods for representing knowledge, such as argument trees, can capture and use
knowledge far more effectively than previously utilised rules based systems. An extension of this
technology is the development of web based decision support systems which enable global access to
CIAO’s area of expertise includes:
Development of new Data mining tools
Computational intelligence for business applications
Optimal decision analysis
Analysis of data from large databases
Building decision support systems
Health Informatics
Data mining techniques also play a major role in the development of decision support systems in health.
An example in using the combined specialised research skills found in CIAO is being applied to the
adverse drug reaction project. This project will aid rapid assessment of the association between drugs
and adverse drug reactions.
Today, electronic messaging is increasingly being used to transfer health information between the
medical profession, hospitals networks and other health care facilities. A key requirement is that
messages conform to standards designed to enable interoperability between different databases and
information systems. The Collaborative Centre for eHealth (CCeH) assists the health industry to
implement HL7 compliant electronic messaging.
Virtual Reality and Simulation
Distributed simulation is an advanced simulation method which provides a unique environment in which
distinct simulation elements work together across a network to produce a larger simulation. Importantly,
distributed simulation methods enable these different elements to interact in real time allowing for the
optimization of the larger system. These simulations significantly reduce costs, improves safety and
performance and, compress critical test timeframes.
Research and development is occurring in:
- Distributed simulation & HLA
- Interoperability
- Open Run Time Infrastructure
Communication Technologies
Research focuses on new emerging wireless communication technologies, particularly 802.X family and
short range. It aims to drive the practical development of industrial applications through association
with industry and academic partners. Communication technologies include WiFi for 3G and 4G
(UMTS), 1xRTT and Bluetooth. There exists a need for high speed efficient wireless communication
between many items used in every day life. Solutions for the automatic reading of domestic power
usage and aged monitoring systems are being developed. Ongoing research and development is
occurring in:
Wireless security
IPv6 and Mobile computing
Application development for wireless devices
Internet Commerce Security
The general populace is concerned with their personal information being stored on vast computer
systems. Governments have enacted privacy legislation to safeguard this personal information but
intelligent systems are needed to safeguard privacy. At present database management systems rely on
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user authentication and user access rights to limit potential misuse of data. There is a need for these
systems to contain sophisticated security mechanisms to ensure an individual’s privacy. CIAO
researchers are involved in:
Key Management
Statistical Inference algorithms
Research Groups established within CIAO:
CIAO is structured into two research groups and three research laboratories. This structure allows for
the research skills of an individual to develop within a challenging and stimulating environment.
Research students are incorporated into research projects where they are overseen by
researchers/academics with world renowned credentials. The groups/clusters are:
Mathematical Analysis and Optimization Research Group
Data Mining and Informatics Research Group
Virtual Reality and Simulation Laboratory
Internet Commerce Security Laboratory
Health Informatics Laboratory
Significant Projects
As a result of its research capability CIAO’s commercial association with industry has seen its
involvement in numerous major research projects and tenders, some of which include:
An Anthropometry and human modeling exercise with the Australian Defence Force. This
project seeks assessment of “fit” of a cross section of Australian adults into the cockpits of ADF
aircraft through computer modelling.
The development of an online knowledge based system for the Victorian Office of Training and
Tertiary Education to assist students and the general public in identifying skills gaps and
The development of non-linear optimization techniques for gas extraction and production with
Woodside Energy Ltd.
Developing an optimal maintenance regimen for a telecommunications network, either by
deploying self-healing architecture or by increased staffing. Telstra Research Laboratories.
Writing a draft Australian Standard for HL7 Radiology Messaging for the Department of Health
and Ageing.
Developing robust methodologies/tools to identify early indications of adverse drug reactions in
collaboration with the Ballarat and District Division of General Practitioners and the Therapeutic
Goods Administration.
Commercial Partners
Since its inception, CIAO has developed commercial relationships with key national and international
entities, some of which include:
Australian Department of Defence
Australian Medical Association
Ballarat and District Division of General Practice
Ballarat Health Services
Department of Health and Ageing
Telstra Research Laboratories
The Refugee Review Tribunal of Australia
Therapeutic Goods Administration
Victorian Office of Training and Tertiary Education
Victorian Department of Primary Industries
Victorian Partnership of Advanced Computing
Woodside Energy Ltd
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Partner Universities and Research Centres:
 Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute
 Curtin University of Technology
 Hong Kong Polytechnic University
 Institute of Mathematics Vietnam
 Latrobe University
 St Petersburg State University; Institute of Mathematics, Romania
 Technical University of Darmstadt
 University of California, Los Angeles
 University of Melbourne
 University of Pittsburgh
 University of South Australia
 Western Australian Centre of Excellence in Industrial Optimization, WACEO
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