PyData London 2023

Large scale agent-based simulations: how to do it right, and how we used one to optimise fibre broadband rollout across the UK
06-03, 11:00–11:40 (Europe/London), Warwick

What’s the optimal way to upgrade a broadband network to fibre? In this session we’ll talk about how we used actor-based simulations and discrete optimisation to build a planning tool that has not only optimised one of the biggest fibre upgrade operations in the UK, but also unlocked powerful scenario testing capabilities. We’ll go through how to architect scalable, agent-based simulations using only open-source libraries and Python, and take you on our journey (including pointing out pitfalls) towards optimising UK wide fibre broadband rollout.

This talk should appeal to all data scientists as well as business leaders who are interested in learning how they can leverage simulations to navigate complex business environments.

Why simulate?
- What you can do with a simulation and why you might want to make one

What we did: how we used simulation to help optimise the rollout of super-fast fibre broadband across the UK
- Why building a fibre broadband rollout schedule isn’t trivial
- Our simulation structure and how it interfaced with the mixed integer linear programming (MILP) solver to make optimal decisions
- Architecting for self-service in the cloud
- Some notes on ways of working with stakeholders (success isn’t only about good technology choices)

How to build simulations: principles and playbook for building your own simulations using only open-source libraries and Python
- How avoid some common pitfalls
- How to architect your simulations for fast, fun and agile development
- How to easily scale simulations with multiprocessing

Prior Knowledge Expected

No previous knowledge expected

Head of Data Science. PhD in keeping the lights on (electrical engineering) from Imperial College London, worked at easyJet scheduling your flights, worked at Kaluza scheduling your electric vehicle charging, now works at Virgin Media O2 scheduling fibre broadband rollout. James also loves scheduling things.

Lead data scientist. PhD in condensed matter physics from Imperial College London, worked at Ocado scheduling your food deliveries, worked at Babylon scheduling your medical appointments, and now works at Virgin Media O2 scheduling your fibre broadband rollout. Tristan loves scheduling things.