My business, Roy Smith, Gurobi

Account Director for Europe Oil & Gas Roy Smith takes Energy Focus behind the scenes at Gurobi

Can you tell us a bit about Gurobi?

Since our founding in 2008, Gurobi has helped thousands of companies solve their most complex business challenges. By presenting a business problem as a mathematical mo

del, customers can use Gurobi’s decision-intelligence technology to quickly find the best solution.

We’ve worked with companies of all types – from Air France and America’s National Football League to big oil supermajors – to help them optimise their decision-making. They use Gurobi to explore the trillions of paths they could take in pursuit of their business goals, given their constraints, and then quickly identify the optimal course of action.

What kind of work does Gurobi do?

Continuous optimisation has been around in the energy industry for more than 50 years, but what Gurobi provides is discrete optimisation.

With discrete optimisation, you can face complex, mutually exclusive decisions (such as, “How can our organisation maximise production while minimising environmental impact?”) and identify the best way to achieve both of those goals.

Discrete optimisation is also quite different from machine learning. For example, there’s the old saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” Where machine learning can only predict what you may encounter along your journey (such as weather, traffic and engine trouble), Gurobi can take everything into consideration, as well as your goals (such as the fastest, cheapest and safest route) and constraints (such as time, budget and speed limits), and identify the single best road you should take. It can even re-route you as soon as anything changes.

I consider Gurobi to be the ‘digital twin’ for business problems. It allows you to test different business scenarios and what-ifs ahead of time or in real-time, so you’re ready for whatever comes your way.

How does Gurobi help energy companies?

One example of Gurobi’s success in the energy industry can be seen in our work with one of the largest producers of oil

and gas in the world. From exploration and refining to energy generation and trading, this producer handles it all – and it uses Gurobi to optimise supply chain networks for liquid fuels, transportation, refineries and quality constraints; conduct long-term investment planning; identify the optimal way to use, acquire, and sell its utilities in all of its refineries; and schedule and allocate the ships and helicopters it will need for the following year. As a result, this producer has been able to increase output and revenue, improve its planning agility and advance its ability to meet demand.
What’s your favourite part about working at Gurobi?

Personally, I love being able to have great discussions with so many talented people who really know what they’re talking about and can get things done. However, I think my favourite part is hearing about how our technology has helped so many businesses to make better decisions, and seeing the far-reaching effects of those decisions.

It’s an honour that major companies trust us with their most pressing business problems, and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing our partnerships lead to meaningful change in the world.


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