Saeideh D. Nasiri wins Kingsman Prize 2015

Saeideh D. Nasiri

10 November 2015

Saeideh D. Nasiri, graduate from the PhD programme in Statistics and Operational Research for Industry (STOR-i), has been named the winner of this year's Kingsman Prize.

This award was established in memory of Lancaster's eminent Professor of Operational Research and Operations Management, Brian Kingsman.

Saeideh is due to be presented with the award at the graduation ceremony in December. She will also receive £500 from the department.

Saeideh came to Lancaster from Iran in 2010. She did the STOR-i MRes and, having completed it successfully, proceeded to the PhD programme.  She finished her PhD in plenty of time, working with her supervisor Adam Letchford, submitting the thesis in November 2014.  During her time in Lancaster, she proved to be gifted not only in mathematics and statistics, but also in computer programming. She also gave several seminars, posters and conference presentations.

The title of Saeideh's PhD dissertation is "Vehicle Routing on Real Road Networks".  Vehicle routing is concerned with the automated design of routes for fleets of vehicles, in order to minimise some objective (such as cost, time, distance or CO2 emissions), possibly subject to side-constraints, such as vehicle capacity limitations or delivery time windows. 

Saeideh observed that the majority of the solution algorithms in the literature begin by converting the original network (usually a road network) into a complete graph.  This conversion has some disadvantages: it increases the size of the problem, it destroys the structure of the original network, and it breaks down in the multi-objective case, in which one wishes to consider, say, cost, time and distance simultaneously.  Saeideh proposes, instead, to work directly on the original network.  She applies this idea to three specific problems: the travelling salesman problem, the travelling salesman problem with correlated travel times, and the vehicle routing problem with time windows.  The computational results demonstrate convincingly that the new approach is competitive in terms of both memory requirements and running time.

The examiners, Professor Konstantinos Zografos from Lancaster and Professor Julia Bennell from Southampton, expressed no hesitation in awarding the PhD, subject to only minor corrections. Three papers arising from the work have already been published; two in the European Journal of Operational Research and the other in Computers and Operations Research.  These papers are already attracting citations from the vehicle routing community.  A fourth paper, concerned with statistical analysis of travel times in real-life road networks, is in preparation.