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Department of Computer Science


Emerging Technology based Supply Chain Management

Primary supervisor

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Other projects with the same supervisor

Funding

  • Competition Funded Project (Students Worldwide)

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

The global food supply chain has been instrumental in bringing us exotic food varieties from across the world. However, the challenges in ensuring healthy and affordable food have become enormous. Food fraud is estimated at $40 billion a year with notorious instances of food adulteration and poisoning, as in the instance of E.coli outbreak in Chipotle (2015) and Horsemeat scandal in UK (2013). The safety and security of the food we consume can be vastly improved if we deploy some of the latest technological developments in the Food Supply Chain.

Food items, especially perishable food, must be shipped at a fixed sub-zero temperature through the cold chain. If the freezing unit breaks down or malfunctions in transit, the food would be rendered unfit for human consumption. However, it is often found that such raw food routinely finds its way into restaurants and makes people sick. According to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) estimates, 1 in 10 people falls ill every year from consumption of contaminated food.

The solution to this problem can be found at the intersection of 4 vital cutting-edge technologies: Cyber Security, Blockchain, IoT, and AI. This project aims at assessing the usage of these technologies in improving food safety and security in the food supply chain.
The idea is to track the entire food supply chain end-to-end using a variety of IoT sensors. The information is relayed via the latest cybersecurity protocols which provide for both transport level and end-to-end security. Therefore, no tampering of the information is possible, both while the information is being generated, and while it is being relayed. Thereafter, information is safely stored on the Blockchain, where the complete signal trail and any changes are recorded immutably.

This immutable record can act as proof and guarantee that the food is safe for consumption. In the event of a dispute, this immutable record can provide the real truth. Finally, if for any reason a system breaks down, then the AI algorithms can sense the breakdown almost instantaneously and immediately take over and activate a standby system. This way, the system ensures that the food is prevented from turning bad.

Overall, the four technologies not only help identify the real problems and the problem points in the supply chain, but they also help in taking timely corrective action whenever there is a system failure. Furthermore, the system ensures that any failure or even the slightest change at any point is recorded irreversibly and there is no way such a data can be hacked or changed.

The project is focused in the first instance on the seafood value chain, in which seafood is farmed in the far east, but has to make its way through the supply chain without deterioration or adulteration of any kind, to markets in the west, where such goods command a high price.
In general terms the project aims to meet the following objectives:

* To ensure a healthy and affordable supply of food across the globe.

* To offer consumers access to complete and immutable information regarding the food they consume (regarding origin, source, date of manufacture, and so on).

* To eliminate the fraud and malpractice that have clouded the supply chain industry for a long time.

Person specification

For information

Essential

Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.

Desirable

Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.

General

Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?