Past Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops

5 May 2017
10:00
Apala Majumdar
Abstract

Liquid crystals are classical examples of mesophases or materials that are intermediate in character between conventional solids and liquids. There are different classes of liquid crystals and we focus on the simplest and most widely used nematic liquid crystals. Nematic liquid crystals are simply put, anisotropic liquids with distinguished directions and are the working material of choice for the multi-billion dollar liquid crystal display industry. In this workshop, we briefly review the mathematical theories for nematic liquid crystals, the modelling framework and some recent work on modelling experiments on confined liquid crystalline systems conducted by the Aarts Group (Chemistry Oxford) and experiments on nematic microfluidics by Anupam Sengupta (ETH Zurich). This is joint work with Alexander Lewis, Peter Howell, Dirk Aarts, Ian Griffiths, Maria Crespo Moya and Angel Ramos.
We conclude with a brief overview of new experiments on smectic liquid crystals in the Aarts laboratory and questions related to the recycling of liquid crystal displays originating from informal discussions with Votechnik ( a company dealing with automated recycling technologies , http://votechnik.com/).
 

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops
3 March 2017
10:00
Steve Hilditch
Abstract

Road travel is taking longer each year in the UK. This has been true for the last four years. Travel times have increased by 4% in the last two years. Applying the principle finding of the Eddington Report 2006, this change over the last two years will cost the UK economy an additional £2bn per year going forward even without further deterioration. Additional travel times are matched by a greater unreliability of travel times.

Knowing demand and road capacity, can we predict travel times?

We will look briefly at previous partial solutions and the abundance of motorway data in the UK. Can we make a breakthrough to achieve real-time predictions?

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops
9 December 2016
10:00
Alex Codd
Abstract

As part of a suite of products that provide a drive thorough vehicle tyre inspection system the assessment of wheel alignment would be useful to drivers in maintaining their vehicles and reducing tyre wear.  The current method of assessing wheel alignment involves fitting equipment to the tyre and assessment within a garage environment. 

The challenge is to develop a technique that can be used in the roadway with no equipment fitted to the vehicle.  The WheelRight equipment is already capturing images of tyres from both  front and side views.  Pressure sensors in the roadway also allow a tyre pressure footprint to be created.  Using the existing data to interpret the alignment of the wheels on each axle is a preferred way forward.

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops
2 December 2016
10:00
Christian Sommeregger & Wen Wong
Abstract

Hotels.com is one of the world’s leading accommodation booking websites featuring an inventory of around 300.000 hotels and 100s of millions of users. A crucial part of our business is to act as an agent between these two sides of the market, thus reducing search costs and information asymmetries to enable our visitors to find the right hotel in the most efficient way.

From this point of view selling hotels is one large recommendation challenge: given a set of items and a set of observed choices/ratings, identify a user’s preference profile.  Over the last years this particular problem has been intensively studied by a strongly interdisciplinary field based on ideas from choice theory, linear algebra, statistics, computer science and machine learning. This pluralism is reflected in the broad array of techniques that are used in today’s industry applications, i.e. collaborative filtering, matrix factorization, graph-based algorithms, decision trees or generalized linear models.

The aim of this workshop is twofold.

Firstly we want to give some insight into the statistical modelling techniques and assumptions employed at hotels.com, the practical challenges one has to face when designing a flexible and scalable recommender system and potential gaps between current research and real-world applications.

Secondly we are going to consider some more advanced questions around learning to rank from partial/incomplete feedback (1), dealing with selection-bias correction (2) and how econometrics and behavioral theory (eg Luce, Kahneman /Tversky) can be used to complement existing techniques (3).

 

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops
25 November 2016
10:00
Paul Sweeney
Abstract

Environmental risk assessments for chemicals in the EU rely heavily upon modelled estimates of potential concentrations in soil and water.  A key parameter used by these models is the degradation of the chemical in soil which is derived from a kinetic fitting of laboratory data using standard fitting routines.  Several different types of kinetic can be represented such as: Simple First Order (SFO), Double First Order in Parallel (DFOP), and First Order Multi-Compartment (FOMC). Choice of a particular kinetic and selection of a representative degradation rate can have a huge influence on the outcome of the risk assessment. This selection is made from laboratory data that are subject to experimental error.  It is known that the combination of small errors in time and concentration can in certain cases have an impact upon the goodness of fit and kinetic predicted by fitting software.  Syngenta currently spends in the region of 4m GBP per annum on laboratory studies to support registration of chemicals in the EU and the outcome of the kinetic assessment can adversely affect the potential registerability of chemicals having sales of several million pounds.  We would therefore like to understand the sensitivities involved with kinetic fitting of laboratory studies.  The aim is to provide guidelines for the conduct and fitting of laboratory data so that the correct kinetic and degradation rate of chemicals in environmental risk assessments is used.

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops
11 November 2016
10:00
Harry McEvoy
Abstract

Dstl are interested in removing liquid contaminants from capillary features (cracks in surfaces, screw threads etc.). We speculated that liquid decontaminants with low surface tension would have beneficial properties. The colloid literature, and in particular the oil recovery literature, discusss the properties of multiphase systems in terms of “Winsor types”, typically consisting of “brine” (water + electrolyte), “oil” (non-polar, water-insoluble solvent) and surfactant. Winsor I systems are oil-in-water microemulsions and Winsor II systems are water-in-oil microemulsions. Under certain circumstances, the mixture will separate into three phases. The middle (Winsor III) phase is surfactant-rich, and is reported to exhibit ultra-low surface tension. The glycol ethers (“Cellosolve” type solvents) consist of short (3-4) linked ether groups attached to short (3-4 carbon) alkyl chains. Although these materials would not normally be considered to be surfactants, their polar head, non-polar tail properties allow them to form a “surfactantless” Winsor III middle phase. We have found that small changes in temperature, electrolyte concentration or addition of contaminant can cause these novel colloids to phase separate. In our decontamination experiments, we have observed that contaminant-induced phase separation takes the form of droplets of the separating phase. These droplets are highly mobile, exhibiting behaviour that is visually similar to Brownian motion, which induces somewhat turbulent liquid currents in the vicinity of the contaminant. We tentatively attribute this behaviour to the Marangoni effect. We present our work as an interesting physics/ physical chemistry phenomenon that should be suitable for mathematical analysis.

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops

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