Professor Owen Jones

Professor Owen Jones

Chair in Operational Research

School of Mathematics

029 2251 0253
M/2.08, 21-23 Senghennydd Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4AG

Research Group

Operational Research

Research Interests:

Operational research (OR) is a way of using analytical methods to help make better decisions. I am committed to developing the role of OR in the Environment, Energy & Sustainability. For example:

  • How to balance economic, environmental and social objectives
  • Quantifying the impacts of climate change
  • Managing renewable energy
  • Management of renewable and non-renewable resources
  • Sustainable water usage
  • Enabling sustainable cities and sustainable development
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Recycling, remanufacturing and waste management
  • Disaster management

Operational research draws on a wide range of mathematical modelling and optimisation techniques. My background is mostly in stochastic modelling and simulation, and I am particularly interested in likelihood free methods for fitting complex stochastic models to data.

Grants and consulting

Australian Research Council Linkage Grant: Mitigating extreme water supply contamination in bushfire burned catchments
Australian Federal Office of Transport Security: Report on Utility of Explosive Trace Detection Deployment Arrangements
Australian Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Risk Analysis for the new Post-Entry Quarantine Facility
Rate Valuation Services: Multivariate Approaches to Breach Detection
Bushfire Collaborative Research Centre Grant: Quantifying water quality risks following wildfire
Norman Waterhouse Lawyers: Advice on a question of changing market share
French-Australian Science and Technology Program International Science Linkage: Objective Risk Evaluation and Decision Making for Large Systems
Melbourne University Grant: Brownian motion with a multifractal time-change
Australian Research Council Discovery Grant: Multifractal models in finance via the crossing tree
Virgin Blue: Comments on Audit Sampling Dictionary
Nuffield Foundation Grant: Modelling self-similar telecommunications data
Merlin Power Systems: Modelling delivery of emergency generators
McLaren International: Optimal settings for a race car
UK EPSRC Grant: Self-similar processes with embedded branching process
UK National Air Traffic Systems: Analysis of Real-time Simulation Trials

Current and Past Research Students

Nanda Aryal PhD: Spatio-Temporal Rainfall Models.

Sashireka Appalasamy PhD: Parametric and nonparametric regression for optimal power flow models in volatile scenarios: precision, robustness and reliability.

Felicia Eng PhD 2016: Game-Theoretic Approaches to Natural Disaster Evacuation Modelling.

Adam Kowalewski PhD 2016: Volatility Homogenisation and Machine Learning for Time Series Forecasting.

Craig Mason MPhil 2016: Improved modelling of post fire hydro-geomorphic risks.

Geoffrey Decrouez PhD 2009: Generation of multifractal signals with underlying branching structure.

Wahib Arroum PhD 2008: Time-Changed Self-Similar processes: An Application To High Frequency Financial Data


Owen Jones, Robert Maillardet, and Andrew Robinson.Introduction to Scientific Programming and Simulation Using R, Second Edition. The R Series, Chapman & Hall/CRC. 2014.

From the preface: “This book has two principal aims: to teach scientific programming and to introduce stochastic modelling. Stochastic modelling in particular, and mathematical modelling in general, are intimately linked to scientific programming because the numerical techniques of scientific programming enable the practical application of mathematical models to real-world problems. In the context of stochastic modelling, simulation is the numerical technique that enables us to analyse otherwise intractable models.

“Simulation is also the best way we know of developing statistical intuition.”

I am an applied mathematician with a background in data analytics, optimisation and simulation. Many of my projects involve assembling data from divers sources, using it to build simulation models, then using those models to inform management decisions. Previous collaborators include the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (planning for the Post Entry Quarantine facility, a national infrastructure project); the Australian Office of Transport Security (improving security procedures in Australian airports); Rate Valuation Services (a financial services company);  McLaran International (the racing team); Merlin Power Systems (a feasibility study for an emergency response scheme for power generators in the UK); and National Air Traffic Systems (responsible for air traffic control in the UK).

My work makes use of a wide range of computational, analytical and mathematical techniques. I have taught graduate courses in machine learning and data mining, and I am the principal author of a best-selling text book on programming and simulation using the language R. Much of my current research concerns complex spatio-temporal environmental data, in particular problems of water runoff in catchment areas.