STOR-i Alumni, Lucy Morgan, wins prestigious OR Society prize

Image of Lucy Morgan

STOR-i Alumni, Dr Lucy Morgan, Lecturer in Management Science (Simulation and Stochastic Modelling) at Lancaster University, was last night jointly awarded the outstanding Doctoral Award 2019 by the OR Society. This is given for ‘Most Distinguished Body of Research’ at a UK University.

The award, for the 'Most Distinguished Body of Research leading to the Award of a Doctorate in the field of OR', is an annual award, with the award being made at The OR Society’s Blackett Lecture in November each year.

Lucy's thesis was titled Quantifying and Reducing Input Modelling Error in Simulation.

The focus of Lucy Morgan’s thesis is input modelling for simulation and quantifying its effects on the simulation output. There are three significant contributions:

·        a method for quantifying input uncertainty for simulation models having a piecewise-constant inhomogeneous Poisson arrival process.

·        an approach for quantifying bias caused by input modelling, which can occur in complex systems when simulation outputs are non-linear functions of its inputs.

·        a spline-based method for modelling and generating arrivals from an inhomogeneous Poisson process.

A paper describing the spline-based method was a Finalist for the Best Theoretical Paper Award at the 2019 Winter Simulation Conference.

In addition to the strong theoretical contributions provided within the thesis, the practical relevance of the bias quantification was demonstrated in a case study for an NHS call centre. Also, the spline-based method has been implemented as an R package, which is available for download. This will help with the future use of the method both in academia and by OR practitioners.

The external examiner commented that “the thesis is one of the best that I have ever read”. A further remark from the examiner mentions the “significant new methodology in simulation input analysis”, which will “help ensure that simulation analysts are able to report more accurately on the true level of uncertainty in their inputs”.

Commenting on the award, Lucy said, "Winning the OR Society Doctoral Prize has been one of the highlights of my career so far! I would like to thank my supervisors, STOR-i CDT and my external examiner for their support.”

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