Professor Doreen Thomas is the Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne. Prof Thomas is also the Associate Dean (Research) for the Melbourne School of Engineering.
The Steiner problem is to find the shortest network linking a given set of terminals. The terminals may be in the plane or 3-space and the edges of the network may be constrained. For example, the edges of the network may be restricted to lying in a rectangular grid as in a VLSI chip or the edges of the network might be tunnels linking ore-deposits in a mine and so be gradient-constrained by haulage factors. Thus the Steiner problem has many applications.
The project on the Optimal Network Design is joint work with Prof J. Rubinstein, Department of Mathematics, Dr J. Weng, Dr P. Grossman, and Dr M. Brazil, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. An example of current research is Underground Mine Access Design and Optimisation
In November 2012 Professor Thomas was elected as a Fellow to Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). Professor Thomas has an outstanding international reputation for fundamental mathematical research in network optimisation. The software encapsulating her work is now used by the largest mining companies in the word to reduce underground mine development and haulage costs. Professor Thomas has a national teaching award for her contribution to engineering education and mentorship and is a passionate ambassador for women in science and engineering.