UKZN Student Recognised at SA Operations Research Conference
UKZN Computer Science Masters student Mr Sivashan Chetty was named runner-up for the prestigious Theodor Stewart Medal at this year’s Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) Student Competition.
Chetty has recently completed his MSc under the supervision of Dr Aderemi Adewumi, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Chapter of the ORSSA.
Chetty received the recognition for his thesis presentation titled, “Studies in Heuristics for the Annual Crop Planning Problem” in the masters category at the 42nd ORSSA Annual Conference held in Stellenbosch, where Adewumi and Professor Nelishia Pillay, Academic Leader for Computer Science, were also amongst the presenters.
‘It was truly an honor to have been selected as a finalist in this year’s ORSSA National Student Competition,’ said Chetty.
‘More valuable than the award itself was the experience gained. I encourage researchers to make it their goal to present at similar conferences. It will be well worth the effort. It’s also incredible to see the wonderful work people are doing within the operations research community.’
Identifying a number of challenges both for farmers and researchers in the field of mathematical and computing science, Chetty’s research is aimed at determining “good solutions to crop planning problems”. His study dwells on a fairly new but important area of crop planning known as Annual Crop Planning (ACP).
‘ACP is essentially a crop planning problem at the level of an irrigation scheme. For the ACP problem, two new mathematical models are presented in this study for the problems at both new and existing irrigation schemes. To determine solutions for the case studies presented, both Local Search and Swarm Intelligence metaheuristic algorithms were investigated, with three new LS algorithms having been introduced. These algorithms are called the Best Performance Algorithm, the Iterative Best Performance Algorithm and the Largest Absolute Difference Algorithm.This research presents results showing the viability, effectiveness and efficiency of incorporating proven metaheuristic techniques into any decision support system that will help determine solutions to crop planning problems,’ said Chetty about his research.
Adewumi and his students have been making a number of key contributions to the field of Opertaions Research. Last year, Ms Annaliza Moodley won a similar award in the honours category at the ORSSA Conference.
According to the co-ordinator of the student competition, 2013 saw the highest number of entries into the Masters’ category, making Chetty’s placement all the more prestigious. It is also the first time a UKZN student has been named among the finalists for this award.
- Barrington Marais