2021-2022 Master Thesis Topics

2021_001

Field of Study:

Follow the waste of electrical and electronic equipment

Logistics - information systems

Contact Details:

Terje Andersen

Background: The amount of   waste from electrical and electronic equipment are increasing (Andersen, Jæger & Mishra 2020). There is a growing need to implement circular   economy solutions ideally replacing the waste. Problems: It is only limited   knowledge on the actual reverse supply chain of electrical waste. In order to   move towards a circular economy, there is a need for information of waste   flow.

Approach: Explore the flow of waste by a case study following the waste   through the reverse supply chain in a Lean Gemba Walk approach used for the   extended supply chain.

Students: This thesis is suitable for students with   knowledge of logistics and supply chain management.

Advisor: Please contact   PhD student Terje Andersen

References: Andersen, T., Jæger, B., & Mishra, A. (2020). Circularity in   Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Comparison of a   Manufacturer’s Danish and Norwegian Operations. Sustainability, 12(13), 5236.   (See also references within this paper)

2021_002

Field of Study:

Heuristics for Binary Integer Programming Problems

Optimization

Contact Details:

Lars Magnus Hvattum

Several logistical challenges can be modelled as pure binary integer programming (BIP) problems. Examples include facility location problems, cutting stock problems, facility location problems, and airline crew scheduling, in addition to many other planning problems. The resulting problems are hard to solve, and heuristic solution methods are often developed for the particular problem class at hand. Few attempts have been made to create heuristic solvers for the general BIP.

This topic is to implement and test different metaheuristic ideas for solving BIPs, either based on population search, constructive heuristics, or local search heuristics. Some of the ideas to be tested involve using prediction methods and classification methods, either based on machine learning methods or statistical methods, within the heuristic search. This topic is suitable for a group of students with good programming skills and a willingness to learn more about heuristic solution methods

2021_004

Field of Study:

Machine learning used to improve discrete simulation of underwater waste distribution in oceans

Discrete event simulation and machine learning

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

For the purposes of collecting and disposing of plastic garbage and ghost fishing tools such as nets and traps, we aim to combine discrete event simulation and machine learning to predict where artefacts of various kinds are most likely to gather underwater. The problem is that manual inspection of vast areas of ocean space will require excessive cost for most corporations, municipalities and even nations. Combined techniques need to be applied to pinpoint the most likely locations, and machine learning may iteratively contribute to improve each simulation as data is collected from the designated sites using underwater drones. The result of the thesis work could be a concrete set of simulations for a concrete area of ocean, with intermediate steps between in which machine learning demonstrably was is applied to improve precision of the next search.

2021_005

Field of Study:

Legislation and law for the supply chain of ocean waste

Supply chain management

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

There is a common understanding of excessive pollution of the world’s oceans. The equivalent of a 54 000 meter tall skyscraper made out of waste is allegedly tipped into the oceans every year. Once it ends in the ocean, it is hardly retrievable. This project seeks out which contractual obligations commonly exist between parties of the supply chain which transforms raw materials into services and consumer products. The objective is to point out the need for more definitive legislation, regulation and enforcing of obligations to recover waste, and distribute the cost fairly in a model of the supply chain.

2021_006

Field of Study:

A sustainable business model innovation for drones used in ocean waste collection

Supply chain management

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

It is currently highly unlikely that the world’s oceans can be searched, and waste retrieved in any efficient manner using traditional vessels. The spaces are vast. Unless on beaches and in gyres, it is hardly visible in spite of its total volume. In gyres, albeit characterized as islands of debris, the concentration of plastic can vary from 100 down to 10 kilograms per square kilometers which means that recovering it, would require an immense financial investment if it were to be centralized. Decentralizing monitoring, identifying and collecting debris in local waters, however, seems technically and financially feasible, except that there is no scalable business model or motivation that is broadly compelling enough to encourage every citizen to deploy probes and drones to contribute to the global chore. Thus, this master project sets out to explore and exploit peer funding and sharing economy models as an alternative paradigm, to sustain totally decentralized collection of debris from fjords and oceans using nano-underwater drones. The complete value proposition needs to be assessed and a strategy for long-term supply chain development proposed to deal with the environmental challenges.

2021_007

Field of Study:

Sustainable city development and citizen participation

Logistics

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

Smart city development project have become commonplace, and most employ what is popularly known as “the quadruple helix”. This master research project empirically examines previous and ongoing smart city projects, to find out of the design thinking of citizens actually manage to become the voice of the city and it inhabitants, compared to the systematic planning made by the municipality’s politicians and bureaucrats. The project will operationalize what makes cities “smart”, and suggest, if possible, a better approach to future sustainable cities planning.

2021_008

Field of Study:

Sports from the doorstep, spectator or participant

Logistics

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

In most cities, amusements are mainly structured and systematic, even when there are possibilities to enjoy them freely from almost everybody’s doorstep. This creates travelling patterns, which may have to be changed in order for cities to become more human- and environmentally friendly. For instance, running can be performed virtually everywhere, but a large number of people travel to the gym to run on a treadmill. Horses might have had more space and attention of their owners in their owners’ gardens and yards, than they have in rented stables, still most owners travel far by car to see their horses. Climbing centres indoor replicate structures that are freely found outside, creating a need for transport, parking, utilities such as ventilation, electricity and water, etc.  In both an environmental and a health-and well-being perspective, could other sports take back their natural arenas in ways similar to parkour and skateboarding, rather than continuing to optimize convenient execution of swimming, downhill cycling and the simulated experience of climbing trees in a ”park”, at the cost of common and flexible cityscapes? What are the better trade-offs between our transport systems, places of living and the sports with which we engage? This thesis project explores the limits of de-industrializing sport.

2021_009

Field of Study:

Environmental footprint consequences of using more marine ingredients for feeding in aqua culture

Informatics, sustainability, smart cities and innovation, mobile IT, autonomous vehicles and embedded/ubiquitous computing, information systems development

Contact Details:

Steinar Kristoffersen

There is an ambition to greatly increase the capacity of the Norwegian aqua culture sector. The Norwegian innovation system, epecially the TTOs (technology transfer offices) currently work together the double the salmon stocks several times over, which means that new feed ingredients are called for. One alternative is meso-pelagic spieces, such as Maurolicus muelleri ("laksesild", or pearlside).

The problem is that albeit the marine stocks of pearlside are massive, its role in the ecosystem is less understood. Moreover, it is troublesome to harvest, since it spoils easily, the waste blocks equipment and pumps and onshore the strains and sorting usually is too couarsly calibrated. In addition, the harvesting season falls alongside more profitable spiecies to catch for the ship owners.

We aim in this project to be assembling the equations needed to model the alternative fisheries, stabilizing catches, keeping and sorting the resources, etc. opposite the benefits of increased yields froma aqua culture in order to calculate precisely the environmental footprint consequences of using more marine ingredients for feeding in aqua culture. The results may contribute to revolutionize the entire industry, not only in terms of realizing its growth potential, but also to indicate limitations and possibilities of alternative means of farming, such as on-shore farms or offshore floating barges.

motivating problem: Some marine resources seem plentiful for a great increase of aqua culture yields in Norway. However, as long as the environmental footprint is unknown, the required supply  chain will not be supported by the stakeholders. This research aim to be making a unique contribution towards formally modelling and quantifying the environmental impact of  marine harvesting, using logistical methods.

2021_011

Field of Study:

E-groceries, purchasing behaviour and sentiment analysis

Urban freight transportation

Contact Details:

Edoardo Marcucci

The information age has increased the use of internet by people. At present, people have started to shop consistently online including groceries. The online stores provide different options for the shipment of goods such as pick up from a local store, pick up from a general point, and home delivery. During a purchase, many people post their opinions online in social media while companies also post different offers for online purchasing. This provides a lot of unexplored information which, when converted to knowledge will help to shape the logistical movement of the future. In short, the thesis is designed with the use of text mining concept to understand and predict the future of logistics movement in online grocery shopping.

2021_012

Field of Study:

Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Supplier Risk Management

Logistics and IT

Contact Details:

Alok Mishra

Supplier and supply-chain risk management has risen up the agenda as business has become faster moving, more complex and global. AI will help organisations to make sense of the huge amount of data and information available and that could help in terms of risk management. AI can be used in supplier risk management to monitor and identify potential risk positions across the supply chain. For example, Risk methods identifies new and emerging supply chain risk events by handling data gathered from different sources, helping to identify emerging risks faster. Data analysis and making decisions on time will facilitate organizations in best decision making and in saving time and cost in its operations. There are many approaches to be considered for instance Petri nets, multi-agent systems, automated reasoning and machine learning etc.

2021_014

Field of Study:

Digitalization and Invoice Management

Logistics and IT

Contact Details:

Alok Mishra

Contracting is a common activity, but it is one that few companies do efficiently or effectively. In fact, it has been estimated that inefficient contracting causes firms to lose between 5% to 40% of value on a given deal, depending on circumstances. But recent technological developments like Digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI) are now helping companies overcome many of the challenges to contracting. AI is likely to play a role at every stage of the contract management process. It is already being used to search the existing contracts in organisations for terms and conditions that may carry a risk for the buyer. It will also support the drawing up of new contracts, suggesting appropriate clauses and conditions. Then AI will identify the information needed from the supplier to manage the contract and performance, and ensure this is captured, recorded and reported. And there will be no risk of missing key dates such as a notice to terminate – AI will provide calendar alerts.

2021_015

Field of Study:

Software Services for the Circular Economy

Logistics and IT

Contact Details:

Alok Mishra

Natural resources are finite and when we junk electrical items such as mobile phones, white goods and other technological devices, it releases toxic waste into the atmosphere. Most of the component parts are not bio-degradable, meaning they sit on top of the earth rather than being broken down and absorbed back into the ecosystem. Biological ecosystems already operate on a cyclical basis and experts believe that humanity needs to adopt this same approach in order to reduce the impact our current throw-away culture is having on the environment. We need to operate in an economy that priorities the principles of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ rather than ‘take, make and dispose.’ “If the production model is based on the circular economy, then you only produce what you know you can recycle… It works on planet Earth in the ecosystem.

Software supports circular economy; at the same time the instruments of circular economy serve as tools for circular software development.  Digitization, Big Data and other software solutions mainly as enablers for circular economy. For many of these business models, software is very valuable – because it is about decoupling the required use from the need of additional resources. Knowing exactly what materials and components the products are made of is becoming increasingly important. Only in this way can the individual components be reused or recycled.  This work will explore different ways, models, frameworks and strategies in this regard.

2021_016

Field of Study:

Digital Transformation Management in Logistics Sector

Logistics, Management, IT

Contact Details:

Alok Mishra

The path to increased operational efficiency and customer satisfaction lies in the digitalization of logistics sector. Efficiency, optimization, speed and timing have always been critical in logistics and transportation. Today, amidst a range of accelerating evolutions and in an increasingly digital environment where digitalization are affecting the next revolution of industry, and moving towards Industry 4.0. There are many challenges in this digitalization process. Speed and time are always challenges in logistics and crucial towards competitive advantage and real-time economy. In the era of digital business, with evolution of new business models management of digitalization will contribute a major role towards customer-service, information management, data-driven manufacturing and marketing in the logistic sector.

2021_017

Field of Study:

Evalueringsmodell – poengsetting av pris versus prissetting av kvalitet

Supply Chain Management

Contact Details:

Deodat Mwesiumo

Statens innkjøpssenter (a central purchasing body in Norway) is responsible for entering into and managing joint contracts for state agencies. The joint contracts are mandatory for all state administrative bodies in the civil sector.  The proble is presented as received:  "I Norge er poengsetting av pris mest utbrett. En utfordring med modellen oppstår når det er mer enn 100% prisforskjell. En annen utfordring med modellen oppstår når man vurderer prisene på tilbud opp mot et tilbud som ikke er aktuelt. For eksempel hvis man har 4 kvalifiserte tilbud, men skal tildele til 3. Dersom leverandør som blir innstilt som nummer 4 har lavest pris, kan dette medføre at rangeringen på tilbudene endres. Prissetting av kvalitet har ikke de samme utfordringene som poengsetting av pris. Modellen vurderer pris mot tilbudt kvalitet hos den enkelte leverandør og ikke mot laveste tilbudt pris. Modellen innebærer derimot at påslaget i pris for manglende kvalitet vil variere fra tilbud til tilbud. (Vi ser der ikke dette som et problem i seg selv, men dette er det mange som stusser over.

Vi har simulert og sammenlignet modellene mot hverandre på flere konkurranser. I de fleste tilfellene vil man få samme rangering, men ikke i ekstremtilfellene hvor det skiller mye i pris. For at man skal være konfortabel med å ta ibruk modellen med prissetting av kvalitet, har vi behov for større (matematisk) forståelse av hvordan modellen virker og konsekvensene av å benytte denne versus poengsetting av pris"

2021_018

Field of Study:

Sammenheng mellom formålet i anskaffelsesregelverket og resultatene fra anskaffelsene

Supply Chain Management

Contact Details:

Deodat Mwesiumo

This research problem is given by The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), an organization that administers a third of the national budget through schemes such as unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, sickness benefit, pensions, child benefit and cash-for-care benefit. The problem is presented as received: "Er det funnet sammenheng mellom formålet i anskaffelsesregelverket og resultatene fra anskaffelsene, og for hvilke formål i anskaffelsesregelverket ser en størst effekt gjennom anskaffelsene?"

2021_019

Field of Study:

Hvordan offentlige oppdragsgivere kan få til innovasjon i kontraktsperioden

Supply Chain Management

Contact Details:

Deodat Mwesiumo

This research problem is given by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), which is an organization that administers a third of the national budget through schemes such as unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, sickness benefit, pensions, child benefit and cash-for-care benefit. The problem is presented as received: "Hvordan offentlige oppdragsgivere kan få til innovasjon i kontraktsperioden?"

2021_020

Field of Study:

Anskaffelsesregelverket og formåls- og kostnadseffektivitet

Supply Chain Management

Contact Details:

Deodat Mwesiumo

This research problem is given by Statens innkjøpssenter (a central purchasing body in Norway) is responsible for entering into and managing joint contracts for state agencies. The joint contracts are mandatory for all state administrative bodies in the civil sector. The proble is presented as received: "På hvilken måte har anskaffelsesregelverket bidratt til formåls- og kostnadseffektivitet og hvordan måler man dette?"

2021_021

Field of Study:

Network design and operations planning for production problems

Production logistics / optimization (both qualitative and quantitative research)

Contact Details:

Yury Redutskiy

Production logistics is a scientific branch studying networks and flows of various nature (goods, people, information, money, etc.) in value-adding systems with the purpose of developing recommendations for the design, implementation, and mobilization of such systems.

In oil and gas, production processes are organized as physical networks of production, gathering, processing, and transportations of goods. Examples of such networks are oil and gas field gathering infrastructures (upstream sector), long-distance transmission pipeline design (midstream sector), and others.

In the context of the manufacturing branch, the issue of the production process organization moves into the area of production floor planning, including such problems as cellular manufacturing layout planning (commonly used in modern-day smart factory solutions), as well as machine placement on the production floor within the cells.

Despite the specifics of a particular production process, the design decisions related to the production infrastructure should be made together with planning the productions operations. Such integrated planning of the infrastructures and the operations ensures that the processes are carried out with the best possible efficiency that they are beneficial in the long run.

The students who are willing to choose this research direction for their master thesis should narrow down their choice to a particular industrial sector, which they will have to study in detail, examine the relevant research, identify research gaps and develop a decision-making framework integrating design and operations planning decisions. It is beneficial that the students find a company in their chosen sector to gather the data about the company’s projects to evaluate their long-term planning.

2021_022

Field of Study:

Workforce planning and employee scheduling for processes run in remote locations

Workforce organization / optimization (both qualitative and quantitative research)

Contact Details:

Yury Redutskiy

The specifics of some industrial branches are associated with conducting operations in remote and unpopulated areas poorly accessible by transportation. In such areas, employees have to work shifts, i.e., travel from the bigger cities / industrial centers to the facility location and back. It leads to travel costs being a sizable share of the operational expenditures the companies are facing.

In some cases, a local subsidiary of the main company may be established, and local workforce may be hired and trained to operate the processes.

Operations run in such remote locations bring up a lot of workforce-related logistic challenges: staffing size required for running the operations, the necessary qualifications of the crews, shift work and vacations, a system of bonuses to reward the employees, challenges of establishing a subsidiary, and so on.

The students who are willing to choose this research direction for their master thesis should narrow down their choice to a particular industrial sector and establish a cooperation with a company operating in a remote area. They will have to study the context of the company’s operations in detail. They will have to examine the relevant research in the area of employee scheduling to identify the workforce organization issues pertinent to the chosen context. Ultimately, the students will develop a mathematical model for employee scheduling covering all these crucial aspects.

2021_023

Field of Study:

Risk analysis in oil and gas industry operations

Logistics Analytics / Optimization

Contact Details:

Yury Redutskiy

Operations in the oil and gas industry are associated with considerable hazards. Many incidents such as offshore collisions, oil spills, gas blowouts, etc., happen every year. Some of the incidents have relatively mild consequences, such as production losses due to facility downtime, whereas others may lead to harm to personnel, environmental damage, and other negative socio-political effects.

The area of risk analysis and risk management studies the barriers aiming to prevent such incidents and reduce their consequences. The students who are willing to choose this research direction for their master thesis will have to study themselves (very intensively) risk analysis and risk management methods and techniques such as Event Trees, Fault Tree Analysis, Markov analysis, as well as decision-making approaches such as ALARP, ALARA, GAMAB and HSE's Social Risk Criterion.

The students will be required to narrow down the process from the petroleum sector and collect statistical data regarding the incidents in particular country/area/region/company. Further, the students will use the modeling framework suggested by the standards IEC61508 and IEC61511 to determine the role of various protective and reactive barriers in preventing and resolving incidents. Ultimately, the students will be required to study the details of the industrial processes and examine how the likelihood of incidents may be decreased by addressing the analysis of various failure modes and causes.

2021_024

Field of Study:

Smart management of loading and unloading zones in urban areas

Transport

Contact Details:

Tom Rye

Last mile logistics in older urban areas depends on the availability of kerbspace for loading and unloading.  The operation of traffic limited zones (e.g. pedestrian zones) must facilitate loading and unloading but at the same time ensure that the environment of the traffic limited zone is maintained and enhanced.  These factors lead to a number of problems with regard to the prediction of demand for loading and unloading, the allocation of sufficient kerbspace, the flexible use of this space, access to traffic limited zones, and the enforcement of access regulations in these zones.  In this masters thesis work, the student should seek to develop and evaluate proposals for better, more flexible and “smarter” management of these issues that ultimately optimizes the use of limited loading and unloading space whilst at the same time improving its provision.

2021_025

Field of Study:

Blockchain Applications in Logistics

Logistics and IT

Contact Details:

Anolan Milanés and Johan Oppen

In recent years, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have become technology trends. It wasn't long until several initiatives emerged to explore the blockchain technology in other areas, such as logistics and supply chain management. However, success stories in the use of blockchain by companies are not abundant in the Molde area. This project aims to study the viability of applying blockchain to streamline processes in companies in the region, particularly in the timber industry, comparing it with other possible solutions.

2021_026

Field of Study:

Optimization in home care routing

Optimization, Healthcare logistics

Contact Details:

Sebastian Urrutia

Home care is an increasingly important component of modern health systems. The geographic distribution of the patients makes the planning and organization of home care systems more challenging than in the case of inpatient care. One of the main problems that arise in this setting is the home care routing problem, which deals with the assignment, scheduling, and routing of nurses to home care patients. In this project, we study and propose solution approaches to the home care routing problem in the Norwegian context. This rich optimization problem will be tackled considering objectives and restrictions observing the local regulations and policies. Depending on the evolution of the work, the implementation of the developed solutions in real situations is possible.

2021_027

Field of Study:

Delayed Improvement Local Search for the p-center problem

Optimization

Contact Details:

Sebastian Urrutia

Delayed Improvement Local Search (DILS) is a brand-new local search approach that showed very promising results for two classic combinatorial optimization problems. The p-center problem is another classic optimization problem in which one has to select p elements of a large set of locations, to act as serving facilities for the entire set. The objective is to minimize the maximum distance from an unselected location to the closest selected location. A simple local search approach from the literature works very well and is currently the state-of-the-art in terms of heuristic algorithms for the problem. In this project, we design and implement a heuristic algorithm for the p-center problem applying the DILS framework over the state-of-the-art local search approach with the objective of improving its performance.

2021_028

Field of Study:

Modelling a periodic maritime inventory routing problem

Optimization

Contact Details:

Lars Magnus Hvattum, Sebastian Urrutia

The inventory routing problem (IRP) arises when a company is responsible for the transport of goods from a production site to consumption sites, as well as maintaining proper inventory levels throughout the supply chain. Maritime IRPs, where the transport is conducted by sea-going vessels, have been studied frequently. Typically, such IRPs are solved for a fixed time horizon. This leads to solutions with poor decisions near the end of the time horizon: production ports can be almost full and consumption ports can be almost empty, since this is consistent with the goal of minimizing total costs.

We would like to model a periodic maritime IRP, where the goal is to have a stable system: at the end of the planning horizon, all vessels and all inventory levels should be identical to where they started out. This ensures that the solution can be executed indefinitely, and there are no end-of-horizon effects. This task requires excellent skills in mathematical programming, and the use of AMPL or similar software.