Research

Our Research Mission

Computational Intelligence has, over the last few decades, reshaped academic and socioeconomic practices through the availability of new methods that have contributed greatly to our ability in understanding of and acting upon complex and challenging problems. The academic world saw the creation of new interdisciplinary programs and research fields at the intersection of computer science and traditional departments. At the same time, industries have successfully adapted computational intelligence in  an effort to modernize and optimize their practices.

In the Bolivian context both of these developments have happened only marginally. Neither academic programs nor industry are currently utilizing the possibilities computational intelligence offers. ICI’s mission is to contribute to the long-term development of resources in computational intelligence applied to fundamental socioeconomic and environmental challenges in Bolivia. Our research therefore aims to create a dual impact – in the development of future experts in computational intelligence and in the ability to relate such methods to interdisciplinary real-world challenges.

 

Research Areas

We believe that scientific research, while also satisfying our curiosity, first and foremost has to create a meaningful impact on our lives. We have therefore defined three critical research areas that are addressing the centrality of and links between urban organization, economic activity and environmental health. To these three areas we will contribute with the development and application of computational intelligence.

Sustainable Cities

Bolivia already has an urban population of over 70% of the total population with continuous migration from rural to urban areas. This development poses significant challenges for the sustainable organization of cities, the quality of life and the environment. However, for our intentions, urban life provides two very interesting aspects. First, the increasing use of (mobile) electronics create vast amounts of data that can be harnessed to better understand urban dynamics. And second, much of urban infrastructure and systems can be understood as networks (transport, water, electricity, etc.). Together, this opens up the possibility to design urban networks and optimize public policies toward more sustainable urban life.

Industry & Innovation

Innovative and competitive economies are increasingly centered around the integration of intelligent systems. On the one hand, intelligence can improve resource optimization, processes and strategic decision making. On the other hand, intelligence can also lead to new services and products. However, the level of integration of intelligent systems in Bolivian Industry is very limited. But more detrimental than the lack of intelligent systems is the general lack of clear and long-term innovation strategies that are shared and pursued by a range of different academic, industrial and state actors.  In this research area we therefore pursue a direct, short to medium-term goal of modernizing local industry through the integration of computational intelligence. For a lasting long-term development we will be investigating agent-based and evolutionary innovation models that can facilitate the development of shared innovation strategies.

Environmental Resilience

Urban areas as well as major Bolivian industries rely excessively on ecosystem services for the provision of resources such as water, air and soil. At the same time, these excessive resource needs present disturbances that are threatening the long-term functioning and stability of ecosystems and therefore our societal and economic systems. Our research in environmental resilience focuses on the conflict between disturbances to ecosystem services and potential solutions that reduce disturbances and/or increase ecosystem’s ability to recover effectively from temporary disruptions caused by social and economic activity. To increase the impact of our research insights, we pursue expert systems that support decision makers in drafting environmental policies articulating requirements for environmental resilience.