“Companies today have access to a dizzying array of data, in diverse forms—pictures, videos, text and signals, generated by a multitude of platforms,” Lodi explains. “But, it’s difficult to exploit these data, especially in real time, because of their sheer volume and their lack of homogeneity. This makes them incompatible with traditional statistical processing and decision-making methods.”
He continues: “My chair’s objective is to convert these data into strategic knowledge in real time, to help organizations take the best and most opportune decisions at every point along their innovation, management, production and marketing chain.”
There are two aspects to Lodi’s work: first, develop the mathematical and Information Technology tools needed to extract, from the mass of data, an accurate evaluation of a company’s situation; and, second, perfect real-time decision-making methods based on the strategic knowledge that those tools provide. The solutions developed can be adapted to different platforms, including mobile devices.
“Real time is our biggest challenge,” Lodi notes. “To meet it, we’re developing powerful deep-learning and mathematical-optimization algorithms. These work as a chain, sorting the data, detecting relevant information, analyzing it and establishing the decision to be made. The process operates at an extremely fast pace, far more quickly and efficiently than any human could.”
Using the algorithms, the software applications can not only evaluate a situation at a specific moment, but also forecast the future—for example, predict market behaviours and make automated decisions, which are more cost-effective.
“At first glance, our approach may appear fundamental, very mathematical, but clearly there are concrete applications relating to the specific needs of certain organizations,” Lodi explains.“We’re working with, among others, hospitals, municipalities, administrations, transit authorities, high-tech companies and energy utilities.”
While the chairholder is glad to be helping companies fulfil their missions more efficiently, he is particularly pleased about the impact of his work on health-care management. The Chair’s projects in this field combine personalized medicine and care planning. Some projects underway involve telemedicine—for example, applications that collect information and vital signs from patients with chronic conditions, with real-time assessment of whether they need to be hospitalized.
“We’re moving into a world in which, in every field, human decisions will be supported by systems, making them more reliable, faster and more efficient,” Lodi concludes.