Personal details

Dr Robert Burdett
Senior Research Associate
Science and Engineering Faculty,
School of Mathematical Sciences
Discipline *
Other Mathematical Sciences
+61 7 3138 1338
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)

Ph.d (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Diploma of Education (Griffith University)

Professional memberships
and associations

Australian Society for Operations Research (ASOR)


Sequencing and Scheduling, Earthworks, Hospitals and Health Care, Capacity Analysis, Operational Research, Railways, Tranpsortation, Mining, Assembly and Manufacturing

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Robert Burdett is an experienced researcher in the field of Operations Research. His primary focus has been on sequencing and scheduling problems, and the development of efficient computational strategies for solving intractable decision making problems. Presently he is working on scheduling the stacking and reclaiming activities within coal terminals. Previously he worked on hospital capacity analysis and hospital scheduling. Over the last 10 years he has performed significant research work on railway capacity analysis, train scheduling and earthworks planning with publications and citations in highly recognised scientific journals such as European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Transportation Research B, OR Spectrum, Engineering Optimization and Mathematical and Computer Modelling.

This information has been contributed by Dr Robert Burdett.


Dr Robert Burdett is lecturing MXB332 in 2020. He has been a lecturer of MXB232 (2016, 2017,2019), MAB315 and has been a tutor for MAB625, MAB313, MAB233. He has also taught Physics and Maths B as a high school teacher.

This information has been contributed by Dr Robert Burdett.


Dr Robert Burdett has significant experience performing research on ARC linkage projects. To date he has worked on six major projects: Production and assembly line scheduling (Volvo trucks), railway capacity analysis and train scheduling (QR), earthworks planning (SBENRC), bayesian statistics and remote sensing applications (DERM), health care planning, scheduling and capacity analysis (Princess Alexandra Hospital). Dr Robert Burdett has also worked as a simulation consultant for the mining -industry.

Project Descriptions and Outcomes

Truck Assembly: Sequencing, scheduling and resource allocation are necessary tasks in mixed model assembly operations Project Outcomes:

  • Models and techniques were developed for resource constrained non serial mixed flow-shop sequencing and scheduling problems.
  • Meta-heuristic techniques and constructive algorithms were implemented.
  • A resource aggregation methodology was developed for improving efficiency and reducing idle time inefficiencies.
  • A task redistribution methodology and solution techniques for improved sequencing and scheduling were developed.

Railway Capacity Analysis: The quantification of capacity in complex railway lines and networks is a complex task and is a controversial topic. Project Outcomes:

  • A capacity analysis methodology was proposed for estimating the absolute traffic carrying ability of facilities over a wide range of defined operational conditions. The approaches are suitable for railway lines and networks with uni and or bi-directional traffic.
  • A generic optimisation model was developed that incorporates train mixes, train lengths, dwell times, headways, signals, section occupation conditions, and networks.
  • The optimisation model can be used to measure (quantify) the potential interaction affects that occur in railway networks between interrelated corridors.
  • Capacity and pricing are two key issues for organizations involved with open track access regimes. A train access charging methodology was developed. Train access charging regimes include: corridor-based charges; section-based charges; weight-based charges; and time-based charges.
  • A railway capacity analysis tool (RCAT) was developed.
  • Railway capacity expansion methods were developed.

 Train Scheduling: Train scheduling is a complex and time consuming task of vital importance. Project Outcomes:

  • A job shop sequencing and scheduling framework
  • Constructive algorithms and meta-heuristic techniques for sequencing and scheduling of trains in this new framework
  • The identification of multiple overtaking conflicts and algorithms for their removal
  • Techniques for the insertion of additional trains into existing schedules to minimise the disruption to existing services
  • Techniques for scheduling trains on parallel rail lines separated by crossover points
  • Techniques for quantifying the sensitivity of schedules to deviations and delays
  • A train scheduling and optimisation platform

Earthworks Planning: Earthworks planning is vital in large scale linear infrastructure projects (such as road and rail) due to their size, complexity and cost. A strategic plan of earthworks is a description of what earth goes where, and is otherwise characterised as an assignment of cuts to fills.  A sequence of these pairings can be used to describe when each location is cut or filled over time.  Project Outcomes:

  • A block partitioning and modelling methodology
  • Mathematical (i.e. block) models for cut-fill assignment
  • A graph theoretic approach for integrated cut-fill assignment, sequencing and routing
  • Dynamic objective criterion involving repeated solution of shortest path problems
  • Parallelised algorithms for fast  computation
  • 2D and 3D animations of earthwork solution
  • Reduced fuel consumption, emissions and cost

Health Care: Health care systems (HCS) provide vital services to maintain people’s health and wellbeing. However in Australia and elsewhere, HCS are regularly described, for example in the media, as overworked and under resourced  Project Outcomes:

  • Robust scheduling techniques and bed partitioning strategies were developed for intensive care units, in order to manage elective patient admissions, and the stochastic arrival of acute patients in intensive care.
  • A holistic hospital capacity determination model was developed.
  • A flexible job shop sequencing and scheduling framework has been developed for hospitals.
This information has been contributed by Dr Robert Burdett.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Reviewer for an Academic Journal
Reference year
Award for reviewers who did an outstanding job by submitting timely, unbiased and thoughtful reviews. Awarded in 2017 for work in 2016. See: EJOR_2017_Quebec_EC.pdf from:


Current supervisions

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

  • Multi-Criteria Capacity Assessment and Planning Models for Multi-Modal Transportation Systems (2018)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)