Category Archives: Conferences

Conferences relating to Operational Research in Agriculture

W(h)ither strategic applied OR?

The fate of strategic applied OR; W(h)ither Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Fisheries, etc! Or w(h)ither not?

Lluis Plà, & Daniel L Sandars, Javier Faulin

There is long term economic decline in the biotic primary production industries as sources of employment and thus students. Globalisation adds its toll as the food chain concentrates into control by few multi-national companies. Long-term capacity building research investments are out of fashion in many national governments.

Do you believe this scenario is realistic

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Given this scenario do you believe it has important implications for the OR community

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1) Through farmers and fishermen society access many increasingly scarce ecosystems services, such as bio-diversity and clean water. Society doesn’t expect to pay so OR will not pay?
2) World population might yet hit 9 billion with many of our lives. For the first time in a generation food security has been thrown into question in the developed world. Are we back in business?
3) In the absence of a strong strategic governmental lead can the large companies with their vast data and financial resource take up the slack? That’ll never work, beyond some short term-tactical profit-maximising studies, with no regard to societal interests? Perhaps consumers and farmers will be king!
4) It maybe that it is supra-national organisations such as multi-nationals, the FAO or the EC to take the lead? That’ll never work because agriculture is so spatially heterogeneous and needs local knowledge?
5) When the last agricultural student has left university we will simply get applied biologists and mathematicians to collaborate. Rubbish! Multi-disciplinary collaboration does not lead to good interdisciplinary science?
6) Are e-tools and open-access journals the answer to maintaining critical mass and vitality in an increasingly sparse profession without the support of dedicated university departments and research establishments?

Use the comment option to express your views. There will be a delay as comments will be moderated for Spam before publication.

OR50: Agriculture and Natural Resources

We are moving close to the point where to conference database will be polled for titles and authors to use in the invitational program.  The call for papers remains up until at least the end of June.  We currently have 14 submissions in our stream and a few that we know are in the pipe line. We probably represent around 7-10% of the conference activity at this stage.


Lluis Pla and myself are leading two plenary debates where we raise issues from agriculture and set them into a wider OR debate, each lasting around 90minutes.  The deabtes will be transcribed by the OR society for publication in OR INSIGHT, the society’s magazine. The titles are:

1) Sustainability! Cometh the hour, cometh the Operational Researcher?

2) Strategic Applied OR: Wither Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, etc or wither not?

Within the setting of the conference we will also be holding meeting for EWG-ORAFM and for the UK Special Interest Group

Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference

    Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference

                              LION 3

                14-18 January, 2009. Trento, Italy

              More details and up-to-date information at

Building on the success of the previous editions we are organizing a new event for January 2009. The LION conference is aimed at exploring the boundaries and uncharted territories between machine learning, artificial intelligence, mathematical programming and algorithms for hard optimization problems. The main purpose of the event is to bring together experts from these areas to discuss new ideas and methods, challenges and opportunities in various application areas, general trends and specific developments.

The conference program will consist of plenary presentations, introductory and advanced tutorials, technical presentations, and it will give ample time for discussions.

Relevant Research Areas

LION 3 solicits contributions dealing with all aspects of learning and intelligent optimization. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

– Stochastic local search methods and meta-heuristics
– Hybridizations of constraint and mathematical programming with
– Supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning applied to
heuristic search
– Reactive search (online self-tuning methods)
– Algorithm portfolios and off-line tuning methods
– Algorithms for dynamic, stochastic and multi-objective problems
– Interface(s) between discrete and continuous optimization
– Experimental analysis and modeling of algorithms
– Theoretical foundations
– Parallelization of optimization algorithms
– Memory-based optimization
– Prohibition-based methods (tabu search)
– Memetic algorithms
– Evolutionary algorithms
– Dynamic local search
– Iterated local search
– Variable neighborhood search
– Swarm intelligence methods (ant colony optimization, particle swarm
optimization etc.)
Continue reading Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference

The Second International Conference on Computer & Computing Technologies in Agriculture (CCTA2008)

The Second International Conference
on Computer & Computing Technologies in Agriculture (CCTA2008)
October 18th-20th, 2008 Beijing, China

Dear Sir/Madam,
We are pleased to inform you that the Second International Conference on Computer and Computing Technologies in Agriculture (CCTA2008) will be held in Beijing, China in October 18-20, 2008. The URL Address is
The conference will focus on Computer and Computing Technologies in Agriculture and targeted participants are from universities, institutes, research organizations, government, large companies, and regional development agencies and consultants all over the world. The conference will provide a forum for original research contributions and practical system design, implementation, and applications of computer and computing technologies in agriculture.
All accepted papers will be published in the Proceedings of CCTA 2008. Selected best papers will be published in a special issue of the International Journals (we have applied, and will let you know the results as soon as possible). Other papers will be published in the IFIP Series in Spinger Press in USA, which was listed in ISI Proceedings.
All abstracts should be submitted to the Secretary of the Conference at, by not later than February 29, 2008.

Topics and areas of interest include, but are not limited to the following Technologies in Agriculture:
Applied Mathematics
Numerical Analysis
Simulation, Optimization, Modeling
Systems Theory
Circuits and Systems
Neural Networks
Fuzzy Systems
Multidimensional Systems
Computing & Computational Science
Signal Processing
Computer Science
Wireless and Optical Communications
Agricultural Decision Support System and Expert System
GIS, GPS, RS and Precision Farming
Agricultural System Simulation
Intelligent Monitoring and Control
ICT applications in Rural Area
Continue reading The Second International Conference on Computer & Computing Technologies in Agriculture (CCTA2008)

OR 50 Discounted Attendence Rates

Members of the Operational Research Society and proven Members of affiliated EURO national OR Societies ( can claim discounted fees of around 20%. 

Students recieve a discount of c. 70% 

Also see the very restricted Assisted Places Scheme with deadline of 30th June

Call for papers OR50 (York 9-11 Sept 2008)

 The Operational Research SocietyAgriculture and natural resources stream

This is both a call for papers for a stream at OR50 (see attached) and an invitation to help relaunch this OR society special interest group.
An initiative is underway to rejuvenate interest in this topical area which also involves prominent Operational Research professionals Eric Audsley (Cranfield University) and Tahir Rehman (Reading University). In this endeavour we are strategically collaborating with Lluis Plà (University of Lleida), the coordinator of EWG-ORAFM (EURO working group on Operational Research in Agriculture and Forest Management)
Our scope aims to encapsulate the management of all of the biotic primary production industries (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, etc) and their underpinning natural resources (soils, water, ecosystems, etc), at policy, strategic and tactical levels. This definition includes the production of goods and [ecosystem] services as well as their related chains or webs of secondary industries and logistics. It is application orientated and not restricted to any particular method. Some of these methods will, of necessity, have been applied in a very innovative manner.Additionally, the governance and management of these industries place this area at the vanguard of operational research’s contribution to sustainability. We offer a platform for those working on such issues.


Papers can be accepted for presentation at any stage before the conference, but bear in mind these dates to obtain maximum impact and publicity.

  1. As Soon As Possible submit a working title and authors
  2. By 25th April submit a finalized title and authors for inclusion in the invitational programme
  3. By 1st July submit a finalized 250 word abstract for the conference handbook


Abstracts are submitted via the OR society’s website

Attendence fees are discuounted to members of the Operational Research society and to the affiliated societies within EURO

In addition to meeting at OR50 a relaunch event is planned for February 2009. Send expressions of interest in this special interest group to Daniel Sandars, Cranfield University, e-mail




Proceedings of the 3rd EWG-ORAFM meeting

Title:  Proceedings of the Third Meeting of the EURO Working Group on Operational Research (OR) in Agriculture and Forest Management (EWG-ORAFM)
Authors:  Plà, L. M.
Sandars, D. L.
Issue Date:  8-Jul-2007
Abstract:  This working group, which is concerned with operational research methods and applications to agricultural science in its broad meaning (i.e. including Forest Management and Fisheries), was formed in 2003 within the European Association of Operational Research Societies (EURO). The first meeting of the group was held at the former Silsoe Research Institute in 2004. The group intends to have regular meetings in Europe at approximately yearly intervals, usually within the EURO Conferences. However, the next meeting will be held in 2008 within the British Operational Research Society’s OR50 conference in York, followed by the EURO XXIII conference in Bonn in 2009 and the EURO XXIV conference in Lisbon in 2010. The third meeting of the working group; chaired by Dr L. M. Plà of the University of Lleida, with the assistance of D. L. Sandars of Cranfield University, and organised as a stream within the XXII EURO Conference; was held at the University of Economics in Prague from 8th-11th July 2007 where the following papers were read in a set of 10 sessions.





The editor’s final copy is available for download from Cranfield University’s pre-print server

journal coverThese proceedings have been accepted for publication later this year by the Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge