Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap: Events

Current Events

Coming up: BTG workshops in System Science for Health

Workshops on System Science approaches to Cancer (10th March), and Inflammation (25th March), Winterbourne House, University of Birmingham.

Dynamic Optimisation in an Uncertain World: Challenges and State-of-the-Art

BTG Workshop 7; 24 February 2011, 9.30am - 4.30pm, Horton Grange, Conference Park, University of Birmingham

Optimisation is ubiquitous in the real world, from optimal design of electronic circuits to optimal design of aircraft wings, from optimal scheduling of trains to optimal routing of trucks in a network, from minimisation of inventory to maximisation of return from a financial portfolio. However, most of the textbook problems assume a static world where problems are unambiguously defined and fixed. In the real world, the objectives we are optimising may change with time. They may not be able to be measured accurately either. The decision variables may be corrupted by the noise. The implementation of decision variables may be corrupted by the noise too. All such factors in the real world call for more flexible and novel optimisation methods and algorithms that can deal with such complex situations. This one-day workshop provide a forum for discussing the challenges posed by such complex optimisation problems and the progresses made so far towards tackling them. Ample time will be devoted to interactions among the participants, with half-an-hour allocated to questions and discussions after each half-an-hour presentation.

The workshop is free for anyone to attend and includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. We would like to ask anyone who intends to attend to register by email with Laura Fenney ( by Monday 21st Feburary, 12 pm. If you have any queries other than registration, please email Dr Thorsten Schnier (

This workshop is supported by EPSRC through its Bridging the Gap project and the dynamic optimisation project.

More detail available here.

Past Events

  • 19/01/2011 - International workshop on molecular network inference See here for detail
  • 15/16 December 2010 - Bridging The Gap Research Away Day on TransportSee here for the workshop program.
  • 20-21/10/2010 - Birmingham BTG Research Away Day on Optimisation Multi-Disciplinary Optimization and Data Mining at Birmingham. See here for the workshop program.
  • Birmingham BTG Research Away Day on Optimisation 19-20/04/2010. Detailed event information is available here
  • Computational Intelligence in Energy14/04/2010. See here for program and slides.
  • Computational Intelligence in Water Engineering and Hydroinformatics Bridging The Gap / Cercia workshop, 18 Feb 2010. Detailed workshop information is available here
  • Reducing the time complexity of chemical reaction-network simulations to O(N) BTG Talk, 4pm 16/10/2009, G40 Computer Science
  • 3rd Workshop on Theory of Randomized Search Heuristics 19-20/10/2009, School of Computer Science (workshop page)
  • The Programming Challenge of Heterogeneous Architectures. BTG Application Workshop 2, 02-03/07/2009 See here for workshop program and information.
  • Real-world Routing and Scheduling. BTG Application Workshop 1, 09/06/2009 See here for workshop program and information.
  • BTG Talk: Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Research at UNSW at ADFA and Progress on Surrogate Assisted Optimization for Computationally Expensive Problems. 02/10/2008. See here for abstract and slides.
  • Knowledge Workshop 1: Aspects of Mathematical Optimization 19/06/2008. Organized by Michal Kocvara. See here for program and slides.
  • Opening Event 06/06/2008. See here for program and slides

BTG Events

Knowledge Workshops

Communication and mutual respect are critical to interdisciplinary working and an understanding of the language and culture of another discipline enables interdisciplinary research to move forward. Through a series (4 per year) of short half-day Knowledge Workshops, academics from different disciplines will be provided with an initial exposure to the principles and methods of other disciplines within the context of the research themes. Maintaining flexibility in the format, these workshops are likely to contain an initial 'getting to know you' session (e.g. a speed dating session) followed by short presentations from academics on current work in the topic, exemplar collaborative projects or demonstrations of techniques and methods and opportunities for informal discussions.

Challenge Away Days

Following on from the Knowledge Workshops, where understanding of different discipline areas is investigated, the Challenge Away Days will enable discipline-specific problems to be presented to a wider cross-disciplinary audience in order to identify new challenges, potential solutions and novel approaches to address these problems. A set of brain-storming/break-out sessions will be facilitated by the team presenting the problems. The group will then come together to present outcomes and identify ways forward. A programme of Challenge Away Days will be established by the Management Committee who will invite academics to develop challenges and provide one-page applications outlining possible topics for discussion and development. From these topics, a series of 2 Challenge Away Days per year will be established.

Research Retreats

BTG will organize one substantial 2-day retreat based around each of the research themes. Outlines for topics for such events will be sought early in the programme from academics and members of the Industrial Advisory Board. The topics will then be reviewed and one topic from each theme chosen by the Management Committee. An academic champion (PI or a Co-I) will be assigned as the facilitator to each topic. The outcome of each retreat will include one or more project ideas developed during the retreat. These will then be presented to the Management Committee at the end of the retreat and the most promising interdisciplinary project(s) will receive pump-prime funding. It is expected that projects selected for funding will be developed into future EPSRC proposals.

Industrial Retreats

There is a strong culture of industrial engagement at Birmingham, from large-scale strategic partnerships such as those with Rolls-Royce, Qinetiq or Honda to small scale one-off projects with SMEs. Such engagements bring new perspectives to research and provide drivers for innovation. We seek to strengthen the depth of industrial engagement in our chosen research themes through a set of (up to 3 in total) industrially-oriented retreats whereby industrial parties will be approached to take part and provide the topics for discussion. Each retreat will be championed by an Industrial Advisory Board member. Once again, outcomes of each retreat include one or more project ideas, developed with industrial partners, which could be developed into, e.g. DTI/EPSRC proposals. A fund will be available at each retreat to fund subsequent interaction, allocated on the basis of a short plan developed at the end of the retreat. There will be some flexibility in the use of funds, but typically this might be used for reciprocal short visits/secondments, or preliminary proof-of-idea projects within the University.

Timetable of Events

All dates are subject to change

Fellowship Call 1
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008 Opening Event (06/06/2008
Knowledge Workshop 1 (19/06/2008)
Travel Award Call 1
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008 Travel Award Call 2
December 2008
January 2009 Knowledge Workshop 2 - Data Mining in Transportation
February 2009 Industrial Retreat 1
Advisory Board Meeting
March 2009 Knowledge Workshop 3 - Image Understanding
Challenge Away Day 2
April 2009 Knowledge Workshop 4 - Neural computation and Data Mining
May 2009 Research Retreat 2
June 2009 Travel Award Call 3
July 2009 Knowledge Workshop 5
August 2009 Research Retreat 3
September 2009 Challenge Away Day 2
October 2009 Knowledge Workshop 6
Industrial Retreat 2
November 2009 Travel Award Call 4
December 2009 Research Retreat 4
January 2010 Knowledge Workshop 7
Fellowship Call 2
February 2010
March 2010 Challenge Away Day 3
April 2010 Knowledge Workshop 8
May 2010 Industrial Retreat 3
June 2010 Travel Award Call 5
July 2010 Knowledge Workshop 9
August 2010 Challenge Away Day 5
September 2010
October 2010 Knowledge Workshop 10
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011 Knowledge Workshop 11
Challenge Away Day 6
February 2011
March 2011 Knowledge Workshop 12