Future technologies in action

Amsterdam Science Park’s latest Behind the Scenes event focused on the exciting potential of big data and technological innovation.

Rob van der Mei, Research and Development Manager at CWI

“Amsterdam Science Park is a whole ecosystem in itself,” said Director Leo le Duc as he welcomed a group of 50 visitors to a Behind the Scenes event devoted to ICT and big data at the park. “We unite research, education and business in a continual knowledge exchange.” 

Over the course of the afternoon, visitors could experience how park organizations translate fundamental research into social and business benefits. First off, Rob van der Mei, Research and Development Manager at CWI, explained how his institute built a dynamic management system for the Dutch ambulance service using data analytics. 

“Events like this get people out of their offices and labs,” he said. “It encourages us to talk to each other and get new things going.” - Lodewijk Kleijn, co-organizer of TEDxAmsterdam 

Algorithms and qubits

‘‘We created algorithms for optimal ambulance relocation,” Rob explained. “By sending ambulances to the places where they will be most needed, we achieved a 30% reduction in late arrivals in Flevoland.” CWI is working on similar solutions to benefit other frontline public services, including fire fighting and policing, by analysing and anticipating patterns of demand.

Benefits of a different kind will result from the research of CWI startup QuSoft, which creates algorithms for future quantum computers. Researcher Stacey Jeffery explained how quantum computers will prove invaluable for simulating the quantum mechanical properties of molecules in areas such as pharmaceutical and materials research. “Greater innovation will be the result,” she said. It will also ensure better security and speed up machine learning tasks and database searching.

Start-up solutions

The event then moved to the Startup Village, launched in 2016 by Ace Venture Lab, and to two new initiatives. Dennis Berkhof set up Bit Students in order to provide real-world big-data experiences for IT students. Its projects have included creating a news-predicting tool for De Correspondent media company, which scans reports to analyze and predict story trends. 

Ruben Spruit then introduced Delph: “We apply econometric modelling to a variety of business situations,” he explained.  Solutions Delph has provided include location selection for wind-farm sites and predicting the ‘bookability’ of incoming queries at a luxury travel agency.

The event concluded over drinks at The Coffee Virus, and guests were positive about the experience. “I was impressed by the QuSoft presentation,” said pharmaceutical-science researcher Xiaozhou Li. “Quantum modelling is relevant to my own work.” Lodewijk Kleijn, a co-organizer of TEDxAmsterdam, was also enthusiastic. “Events like this get people out of their offices and labs,” he said. “It encourages us to talk to each other and get new things going.” 

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