Operations Research and Computational Analytics

Data-driven decision making informed by theory, algorithms, and computational methods to solve real-world problems.

The Operation Research and Computational Analytics (ORCA) group is a team of academics within the Department of Engineering Science and Biomedical Engineering who specialise in data-driven decision making. They utilise a variety of theory, algorithms, and computational methods to solve real-world problems with real-world data.

Some of our research

Air crew scheduling

Air New Zealand has been using computer systems for crew scheduling based on OR research for many years. They use OR techniques developed by ORCA researchers to synchronize crew and aircraft routes to operate efficiently and decrease the probability of severe delays. Learn more.

Telecommunications network design

We analysed and designed the coverage of fibre optic cables in the Auckland CBD. This network design was automatically generated using optimisation methods developed by ORCA researchers.

Optimising power generation and purchasing in electricity markets

Stochastic programming problems arise frequently in the electricity sector. Scheduling power generation and transmission has traditionally been a difficult optimization problem due to the uncertainty of supply of water to the hydro lakes, and the uncertainty of daily load. New models are currently under development for optimizing power generation in the wholesale electricity market, under the auspices of the Electric Power Optimisation Centre.


The ORCA group have had a long involvement over the years with the New Zealand yacht-racing fraternity. There is considerable interest amongst these groups in using optimization techniques in yacht design, performance analysis and weather modelling. Find details at the Yacht Research Unit.

Our connections

  • EPOC: Electric Power Optimization Centre
  • ORUA: Combining Operations Research and Analytics
  • ORSNZ: Operations Research Society of New Zealand

Our people