We live in an uncertain world, and in business, decision-makers must contend with unknowns ranging from everyday questions like what the weather will be like tomorrow, to major drivers of uncertainty such as climate change, the economy, technological revolutions, and pandemics.  

Smart decision-makers do not leave it all to chance. If you are planning a major investment in new manufacturing capacity, devising a series of delivery routes, or deciding how many crops to grow, you need a plan that will help you achieve an optimal outcome in light not only of the things you know, but also of the things you cannot predict.  

At Imperial, researchers in a variety of business and engineering disciplines are developing new algorithms, modelling techniques and tools to help businesses make smart decisions that improve efficiency, resilience and expected value in the face of uncertainty. 

At this event, led by Imperial Business Partners, participants had the chance to meet the researchers, learn how they are applying new decision-making techniques to business challenges in a variety of sectors, and discover opportunities and avenues for future collaboration. 

Panel discussion: Decision-making under uncertainty

Background reading

For optional background reading, download:

Confirmed speakers

Professor Ruth Misener, Professor in Computational Optimisation, Department of Computing

Dr Ruth Misener is a Professor in Computational Optimization in the Imperial College London Department of Computing.  Ruth received an SB from MIT and a PhD from Princeton: both degrees are in chemical engineering. Foundations of her research are in numerical optimization algorithms. Applications include bioprocess optimization under uncertainty, petrochemical process design and operations, and explainable scheduling. Ruth's research team makes their software contributions available open source (https://github.com/cog-imperial). Ruth received the 2017 Macfarlane Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the 2020 Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the AIChE Computing & Systems Technology Division. Ruth is an associate editor for Computers & Chemical Engineering and INFORMS Journal on Computing.

Maria Angeles Diaz, EMEA and India Sales Vice President and General Manager, Agilent Technologies

Maria Angeles is an expert in sales management, strategy and commercialization. She sits on Agilent’s executive sales and marketing staff and is a key member of the European senior management team. She joined Agilent in 1990 prior to the spin off from Hewlett-Packard Company in 1999, as an application chemist and has held various customer facing and management roles. 

Maria Angeles is passionate about developing and leading individuals and teams, creating a culture of integrity and a commitment to excellence. She is focused on creating results by developing strong, loyal relationships and partnerships with customers, their businesses and institutions to advance science, address their commercial challenges to improve their business success and profitability.

Dr Michel-Alexandre Cardin, Senior Lecturer in Computational Aided Engineering, Dyson School of Design Engineering

Michel-Alexandre is a Senior Lecturer in Computational Aided Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering. His work focuses on the development and evaluation of new computer aided methodologies to support the design of engineering systems, with applications in infrastructure and financial systems. The work covers topics such as concept generation and selection, decision-making, machine learning, stochastic optimisation, and uncertainty modeling.

In particular, his work focuses on design for flexibility (also known as real options), a design paradigm aiming at enabling better flexibility, sustainability and resilience in complex engineered systems, with the goal of improving expected performance in the face of uncertainty and risks. This is highly needed, especially given ongoing and future threats from climate change, cyber and physical terrorism, and pandemics. His latest efforts explore the roles of AI and machine learning as part of this emerging paradigm. Prior to joining Imperial, Dr Cardin worked in the hedge fund industry in developing models for derivatives trading using machine learning, as well as a host of academic and technical roles across the world. 

Chair: Professor Peter Childs, Dyson School of Design Engineering

Professor Peter Childs FREng, FIMechE and Fellow of the ASME is the Professorial Lead in Engineering Design at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London and Chairperson at BladeBUG Ltd. His professional interests include creativity tools and innovation, design, heat transfer and rotating flow, sustainable energy and robotics. Former roles include director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre for Aero-Thermal Systems, director of InQbate and professor at Sussex University, Founding Head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial and Chairperson at Q-Bot Ltd. He has contributed to over 200 papers, and several books on engineering design, temperature and rotating flow.

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Networking opportunities

Imperial Business Partners and the Deep Tech Network have come together to facilitate networking opportunities as part of this event. 

The Deep Tech Network is organised between Imperial's Department of Chemistry, our Enterprise Division and Upstream - a partnership between Imperial and Hammersmith and Fulham Council - with the intention of encouraging interaction and collaboration between business and Imperial’s researchers and developing a deep-tech innovation ecosystem around Imperial’s White City Campus.