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Google awards the research of four Argentine scientists in logistics and economics


Two research projects of Argentine scientists were winners of the Latin America Research Awards (LARA) presented this week by Google Source: Archive

Give solutions to problems and provide an explanation of phenomena that have occurred, but also anticipate those that may happen. This is what technology and science are all about and summarizes, in turn, the aims that the
two research projects of Argentine scientists which, this week, resulted
winners of the Latin America Research Awards (LARA), delivered to the Engineering Center for Latin America of Google, in the city of Belo Horizonte, in Brazil.

The investigator
Francisco Soulignac and the doctoral student
Gonzalo Lera-Romero, both from the Computer Department of the University of Buenos Aires on the one hand; and
Ana Gabriela Maguitman and the doctoral student
Mariano Maisonnave, from the Institute of Computer Science and Engineering of the National University of the South, on the other; They are the ones who received a scholarship to finance their research for 12 months. Another 23 projects (15 from Brazil, 5 from Colombia, 2 from Chile and 1 from Per) were also winners of the LARA, out of 670 applications. In this edition, 500,000 dollars were allocated to support the scientific works.


Gonzalo Lera-Romero, Francisco Soulignac, Mariano Masionnave and Ana Gabriela Maguitman were distinguished by GoogleGonzalo Lera-Romero, Francisco Soulignac, Mariano Masionnave and Ana Gabriela Maguitman were distinguished by Google Credit: Courtesy Google

How to improve merchandise deliveries


Francisco Soulignac and Gonzalo Lera- Romero investigate how to improve the planning of direct deliveries of merchandise to consumers in online purchasesFrancisco Soulignac and Gonzalo Lera-Romero investigate how to improve the planning of direct deliveries of merchandise to consumers in online purchases Credit: Shutterstock

The project presented by the UBA Computing Department researcher Francisco Soulignac and Gonzalo Lera-Romero (in which Juan Jos Miranda Brown, from the Di Tella University also participates) addresses a problem that is of special interest in custom logistics that the electronic commerce grows: how to improve the planning of the direct deliveries of merchandise to the consumer in the so-called "last mile" – the final stage of the chain of distribution of the products – taking into account the congestion that could be in the transit.

Improving the current algorithms to incorporate the congestion factor, and thus facilitate decision-making on the order of product distribution, is the main challenge. "Today there are applications that we all use: we say 'I am here, I want to go here', and they give us a route. That is reasonably well solved, it is simple in computational terms, the problem is when one has to visit many locations" said Soulignac.

But if a company has to do, for example, one hundred deals in different parts of a city, the problem "explodes from combinations" and there are many difficult possibilities to analyze one by one, explains the researcher.

The problem, known as "vehicle routing", becomes more difficult to solve if factors such as the times when a customer can be visited are taken into account or if a vehicle or more than one is owned for delivery. And even more complex if this traffic is incorporated into this calculation.

"The e-commerce so far in Argentina did not explode at all, but the need to solve this type of problem begins to arise," said Lera-Romero. "The final objective that we hope to get out of this project is to have a tool that helps companies make decisions," he added.

Having a tool that provides an adequate order to visit customers taking into account congestion will not only favor companies in terms of costs but also help not add more traffic jams to the streets and not increase or reduce the carbon footprint that generates the logistics ..

While the project for now is limited to the academic field and has not been tested outside of this, a next step is to "polish" the algorithms to test them with data taken from reality.

Explain and predict the economy


Ana Gabriela Maguitman and Mariano Maisonnave, from the National University of the South, were distinguished by a research project on causal models that use data extracted from the mediaAna Gabriela Maguitman and Mariano Maisonnave, from the National University of the South, were distinguished by a research project on causal models that use data extracted from the media Credit: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, the researcher Ana Gabriela Maguitman and the PhD student Mariano Maisonnave, from the National University of the South, were also distinguished by a research project on causal models that use data extracted from the media.