Current PhD Projects

Non-technical description

Here are just a few of the project outlines we've already worked on, to give you a taste of what you might expect at STOR-i.

Assessing Risk of Damage to Oilrigs
Cargo Revenue Management
Statistical Texture Analysis – the key to great looking hair? 
Short-term Forecasting of Wind Power 
Improving Patient Flows in Accident and Emergency Departments 
Upstream Logistics in the Oil and Gas Industry

Assessing Risk of Damage to Oilrigs

Offshore structures, such as oilrigs, need to be built to withstand the various meteorological forces to which they may be subjected out at sea. Accurately quantifying the risk of structural damage to offshore facilities is crucial for the design of the structures, and for insuring them.

And that’s where we come in.

Our risk assessment project involves the fascinating statistical process of modelling the extreme values of these factors and considering, for example, the probability of multiple structures being affected by the same extreme event.

Our research is aimed at developing new statistical methods and then applying these to actual scenarios.

Back to top »

Cargo Revenue Management

Cargo Revenue ManagementOperational Research models have been used for many years now to support the decisions taken by airlines concerning how they should price their tickets in order to maximise revenue.

A major passenger airline also runs a cargo business utilising any spare capacity in the hold once all of the passenger luggage has been loaded.

The airline wants to develop appropriate revenue management approaches for this business, given that the cargo business cannot know with certainty (until just before take-off) how much spare capacity there will be in the hold.

A current PhD project aims to answer such questions as how the business can be divided between long-term contracts and spot-sales.

Back to top »

Statistical Texture Analysis – the key to great looking hair?

Texture is the visual character of an image region whose structure is, in some sense regular, such as a woven material or hair. With ever improving image capture methods, there is increasingly a need to be able to accurately classify textures into different groups.

Statistical Texture Analysis – the key to great looking hair?

Ongoing work with a leading consumer goods company is looking at developing the next generation of tools for texture analysis. This work builds on and applies statistical research using a diverse range of statistical methods.

Back to top »

Short-term Forecasting of Wind Power

Short-term Forecasting of 
Wind PowerAs wind energy becomes an increasingly important power source, there is an ever greater need to be able to predict wind strength, and hence the amount of electricity that wind farms will produce.

Statistical models can help improve the accuracy of predictions and, more importantly, quantify their uncertainty.

Ongoing work with a wind energy consultancy firm is developing novel statistical methods for short-term prediction of wind power. These methods must be capable of being updated every few minutes and be able to deal with joint prediction of power at a range of turbines within and across farms.

This work builds on and applies statistical research in a range of areas including spatial statistics.

Back to top »

Improving Patient Flows in Accident and Emergency Departments

Improving Patient Flows in 
Accident and Emergency DepartmentsThe unpredictable nature of much of the workload of healthcare systems means that congestion is a common feature, and reducing or at least managing the congestion is crucial to the quality of service provided.

The challenge for management is considerable when coping with systems as complex as, for example, extremely busy A&E departments and their patient charter targets.

Patient flows within the network of health service resources are subject to both stochastic and cyclic factors, and solutions involve scheduling a range of expensive staff and equipment 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

We’re helping the Department of Health by developing various models to identify common A&E patient flow problems and suggesting how these models might inform national policy and assist individual hospital trusts to manage their own departments.

A recent addition to this stream of work involves the Jamaican health service and seeks to evaluate how this same approach might apply in A&E departments in Jamaica.

Back to top »

Upstream Logistics in the Oil and Gas Industry

Upstream Logistics in the 
Oil and Gas IndustryIn an industry where the costs caused by late deliveries of supplies to oil and gas platforms can be as high as £10 million per day (lost income due to a closed platform), but where there is also pressure on logistics costs, planning becomes particularly important. Aspects such as the following need to be considered;

For inventory: limited space on platforms, onshore or offshore storage of expensive parts such as turbines.

For routing of supply vessels: weather forecasts, trade-offs between importance of delivery and disruption from adverse weather.

Operational research, such as that carried out at STOR-i, is needed to analyse the problems separately, as well as understanding how they interact.

Back to top »

These are just a few of the very real and practical issues our graduates will be well equipped to tackle, giving them the skills and experience to enable their careers to progress rapidly.