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The University of Southampton
CORMSIS Centre for Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems

Business School postgraduate analysts solve a real-life challenge in the mining industry

Published: 7 December 2016Origin: Southampton Business School
Prize winners
Southampton students achieve 2nd and 3rd place in BHP Billiton contest

Two postgraduate students of MSc Business Analytics and Management Sciences achieved second and third places in an international competition run by one of the world’s largest mining companies.

Wimbi Putra and Andi Nugroho, both from Indonesia, put their analytical skills to good use in the BHP Billiton contest and went on to submit their work as dissertations for their Masters degrees. They both developed algorithms to predict where and when to extract ore from the most valuable parts of an open pit mine, using the Australian company’s operational data and scenarios. Following presentations at the final in Canberra, Wimbi was placed second and received a prize of £6,000 and Andi came third and was awarded £3,000.


“It was an honour for us to be the only representatives from the UK to present our algorithms in the final of the competition. This has given us real experience of using our knowledge in industry and the confidence to solve more complex problems like this in future,” says Andi.


Wimbi is now an officer in the division of information systems at Indonesia’s largest port operating company. Andi is a channel manager at a major Indonesian telecoms manufacturer.


Zane Prickett, Director of Unearthed, which hosted the event, says their entries “took unique mathematical approaches to one of mining’s largest challenges.” The students’ supervisors Dr Toni Martinez-Sykora from Southampton Business School and Professor Chris Potts from Mathematical Science add: “The detailed study by the students of the problem's complex structure allowed them to design algorithms that were well suited for success in the competition.” Both Toni and Chris are members of the University of Southampton’s Centre of Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS), jointly funded by the Business School and Mathematical Science.


For further information about CORMSIS MSc programmes and summer projects, please contact CORMSIS Industry Liaison Officers Julie Hickman and Peter Becque


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