From The Editor

“Research at Northeastern University has shown that merchants on Amazon Marketplace that use algorithmic pricing have greater sales. However, merchants may not have algorithm design as a core skill. This was illustrated when a biology textbook was advertised on Amazon Marketplace for over US$23 million…” (Wired 27 April 2011)

The above quote comes from a July 30, 2018 article in The Conversation, reporting that the European Commission imposed fines of more than €110 million (AU$170 million) on consumer electronics manufacturers in July.  The article notes that resale price maintenance is prohibited in Australia and gives advice for buyers and wholesalers. The above Wired 2011 article about a comical automated price war concludes “The price of the book peaked on 18 April at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping), before profnath saw sense and dropped its price to $106.23.” See below, Lessons for Australia in the EU’s algorithmic price war that ripped off consumers.

“Technologies and organizations should be redesigned to intermittently isolate people from each other’s work for best collective performance in solving complex problems.” This quote is from a Harvard Business School August 13, 2018 ScienceDaily article which identifies some unexpected results from the research. The authors “see a number of workplace implications for these findings, including the advantages of alternating independent efforts with group work over a period of time to get optimal benefits.” See below, Collaborate but only intermittently says new study.

“Three years after its launch, a lack of transparency makes it difficult to evaluate how well InnovationXchange is faring — and even whether some funded projects are continuing at all.” This quote is from a 6 August 2018 article in The Mandarin, subtitled Projects that vanish, ministerial over-involvement and a lack of evaluation: a new report finds some major problems with the secretive aid initiative at DFAT.  See below, InnovationXchange: difficult to assess Julie Bishop’s pet project.

Previous QESP Newsletter articles have looked at how Education can adapt to meet 21st century skills needs, using 21st Century tools and online resources. Now we are seeing more approaches to helping school kids get into the workforce, including Australian research by the Mitchell Institute, Victoria University and the University of Newcastle, and US research by University of Wisconsin-Madison. See below, What school kids need: New Findings.


Current Issue

Articles in the current Issue cover:

Lessons for Australia in the EU’s algorithmic price war that ripped off consumers

“The European Commission was particularly worried that if retailers followed the direction of the manufacturer, the algorithm-driven discounting would evaporate. This would leave consumers with a “take it or leave” recommended retail price.”

Collaborate but only intermittently says new study

“Even though the groups interacted only intermittently, they had an average quality of solution that was nearly identical to those groups that interacted constantly. And yet, by interacting only intermittently, these groups also preserved enough variation to find some of the best solutions, too. 

InnovationXchange: difficult to assess Julie Bishop’s pet project..

“He found several examples of projects that were announced as winners of funding, but have never been heard from again. Indeed, the web page for one project, for which winners were announced in 2016, asks “where are they now?“, but provides no answer.”

What school kids need: New Findings

“Over 18 months from 2014 to 2015, we observed 192 teachers in 24 NSW government schools (eight in each school)…. The quality of teaching improved significantly for the participating teachers, with no change in quality for the control group. Effects were still measurable six months later and in the following school year.”



“As biologists have probed deeper into the genetic underpinnings of life, K-12 schools have struggled to provide a curriculum that reflects those advances. Now, a collaboration between the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, MIT, and Northwestern University has developed BioBits, new educational biology kits that teach students the basic principles of molecular and synthetic biology through fun, hands-on genetic experiments without the need for specialized lab equipment, at a fraction of the cost.”

This quote is from an August 1, 2018 ScienceDaily article, see BioBits: Teaching synthetic biology to K-12 students: Educational kids bring fun, hands-on experiments to classrooms without costly lab equipment



Consensus Celebrates 20 Years of Recognition

Date: Wednesday 31st October 2018
Location: TBC, Sydney CBD Hotel

Celebrating 20 years of operation, Consensus ( was started in 1999 and runs a series of Awards Programs that identify the most innovative technology designed and developed in Australia (and some in New Zealand). Over 1000 evaluations of innovation have been conducted by more than 160 independent Judges since the Awards were started. Independent analysis of the Winners of the Awards shows that 9 out of 10 of the Winners of Consensus Awards have gone on to perform exceptionally well internationally. The same research showed that across the board, the companies have enjoyed over 1300% increase in sales or value since they have won Awards, which includes Atlassian and WiseTech Global

Based upon these achievements, Consensus can truly claim to be the World’s Most Successful Awards Program. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been invited to attend and present the 2018 Consensus Awards at a Gala Dinner on the evening of Wednesday 31st October 2018. For further information:



Some new options are being explored for the ACOSM18 Australian Conference on Software due to the move of the ACS NSW office to Barangaroo.  The plan is still for a joint QESP/ACS  evening event, 5.30 for 6.00, keynote, 2 speakers and  Forum till 7.30, drinks & fingerfood till  8.00. Watch this space.



Quote of the Day

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. – Harlan Ellison

Quote from Yesteryear

The good will of the governed will be starved if not fed by the good deeds of the governors. – Ben Franklin (1706-1790)


Ted Smillie

QESP Chair