10 years later… and so much to come!

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This year marks Innaxis’ 10th Anniversary. A most remarkable date that we are very happy to celebrate and share with you. This decade -and the 30 projects developed so far- have provided us the opportunity of creating solid relationships with trusted partners and strengthening those links through successful collaborative stories. We consider you as part of this trusted network of partners, colleagues and friends and we feel very grateful for it.

As you surely know, Innaxis was founded with the objective of finding applications of Complexity Science to address problems of real socio-technical systems. From that (quite abstract) idea, we have done our (exciting and challenging) way to become a reference research organization at the confluence of Complexity Theory, Data Science and Societal Challenges, mainly in the Aviation and Mobility sector. This rapid evolution has been possible, and even more stimulating, thanks to people like you and organizations like yours, who have accompanied us in this journey.

Addressing real-life problems through breakthrough innovation requires a clear focus on applied research and a close collaboration with end-users to ensure the solutions meet users´ expectations and help in solving their needs. To effectively apply some of the research results obtained, we launched some time ago a new venture called Tadorea as a spin-off of Innaxis. Tadorea focuses on applying Knowledge Discovery and Machine Learning solutions to the aviation sector, leveraging on massive data analytics. We strongly believe on the potential of this promising area, and so David Pérez has been appointed as General Manager of Tadorea to take the lead of our spin-off efforts. David will nevertheless stay very well connected to Innaxis by being nominated to its Board of Trustees.

And it is also time to give new responsibilities to people who have been with us for a long time and have shown an outstanding capacity and performance, combined with personal styles which are quite unique. Both Paula López-Catalá as Programme Director and Samuel Cristóbal as Science & Technology Director, are newly appointed to these most relevant functions. Together with them, David, Arantxa Villar as Finance Director and Carlos Álvarez Pereira as President, will integrate the Management Team to pursue our -even more- ambitious goals in this new era which we are much willing to share, explore and enjoy with you.

Entry level/Junior Data Scientist or Data Engineer

Innaxis is currently seeking for Data Scientists and Engineers to join its research and development team based in Madrid, Spain. Talented and highly motivated individuals who want to pursue and lead a career outside of the more mainstream, conventional alternatives. Individuals with a great dose of imagination, problem solving skills, flexibility and passion are encouraged to apply.

  • As a Data Engineer, you will help the team to design and integrate complete solutions for Big Data architectures; from data acquisition and ETL processes until storage and delivery for analysis, using the latest technologies and solutions for the ultimate performance.
  • As a Data Scientist, you will mainly assist the team to understand, analyse and mine data, but also to prepare and assess the quality of such. You will also develop methods for data fusion and anonymization. Ultimately your goal will be to extract the best knowledge and insights from data, despite technical limitations and committing with regulatory requirements.

About Innaxis

If not unique, Innaxis is at most not conventional: it is a private independent non-profit research institute focused on Data Science and its applications: most notoriously in aviation, air traffic management and mobility, among other areas.

As an independent entity, Innaxis determines its own research agenda and has now a decade of experience in European research programs with more than 30 successfully executed ones. New projects and initiatives are evaluated continuously and open to new opportunities and ideas proposed within the team.

The Innaxis team consist on a very interdisciplinary group of scientists, developers, engineers and program managers, together with an extensive network of external partners and collaborators, from private companies to universities, public entities and other research institutes.

Skills wanted

Our team work very closely on a daily basis, so a broader knowledge means a much better coordination. Therefore, there is a unique list of skills ideally wanted for both positions. Those skills would be then weighted/assessed as requirements or “bonus points” according to the candidate’s position of interest, i.e. Data Scientist or Data Engineer.

  • University degree, MSc or PhD on Data Science or Computer Science, or related field provided all other requirements are met.
  • No professional experience required, although it might be positively evaluated.
  • Proficient in a variety of programming languages, for instance: Python, Scala, Java, R or  C++ and up to date on the newest software libraries and APIs, e.g. Tensorflow, Theano.
  • Experience with acquisition, preparation, storage and delivery of data,  including concepts ranging from ETL to Data Lakes.
  • Knowledge of the most commonly used software stacks such as LAMP, LAPP, LEAP, OpenStack, SMACK or similar.
  • Familiar with some of the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms currently available such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and similar.
  • Understanding of the most popular knowledge discovery and data mining problems and algorithms; predictive analytics, classification, map reduce, deep learning, random forest, support vector machines and such.
  • Continuous interest for the latest technologies and developments, e.g. blockchain, Terraform,
  • Excellent English communication skills. It is the working language at Innaxis.
  • And of course, great doses of imagination, problem solving skills, flexibility and passion.

Benefits

The successful candidate will be offered a Innaxis’ position as a Data Scientist or Data Engineer, including a unique set of benefits:

  • Being part of a young, dynamic, highly qualified, collaborative and heterogeneous international team.
  • Great flexibility in many aspects -including working hours, compatibilities and location- and most excellent working conditions.
  • A horizontal hierarchy, all researchers’ opinions matter.
  • Long term and stable position. Innaxis is steadily growing since its foundation ten years ago.
  • A fair salary according to the nature of the institute and adjusted to skills, experience and education with continuous revision.
  • Independence, as a non-profit and research-focused nature of Innaxis, the institute is driven by different forces than in the private sector, free of commercial and profit interests.
  • The possibility to develop a unique career outside of mainstream: academics, private companies and consulting.
  • No outsourcing whatsoever, all tasks will be performed at Innaxis offices.
  • An agile working methodology; Innaxis recently implemented JIRA/Scrum and all the research is done on a collaborative wiki/Confluence.

Apply

Interested candidates should send their CV, a research interest letter (around 400 words) and any other relevant information supporting their application to recruitment@innaxis.org You will be contacted further and a personal selection process will start.

 

Augmented reality and data visualization (in aviation)

Present-day technology is so powerful that the perception of reality can be easily and realistically modified with IT tools, providing users withan experience beyond “simple” reality. This is achievable by mixing real-world environment elements supplemented and/or augmented by computer-generated inputs. The current post unpacks this topic, focusing specifically on the data visualization aspects. In brief, augmented reality can take two approaches:

  • First, inventing totally new scenarios, in which the user becomes part of a “parallel universe”. Supplementing the real-world environment with an unreal one; either a virtual place (video game) or a different location (i.e. another real location). This is the case of futuristic 90’s and early 2000’s alike head-mounted displays with users’ eyes looking at full screens recreating other places. The ergonomics aspects are usually modest for most of the applications due to the head-mounted displays weight and size.

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  • The second, and closer to “data visualization” area is the so called “mediated reality”. The real-world environment enhanced by virtual elements displayed in glasses, windscreens etc. In them, additional information/data is provided. The real challenges is to decide what, how and when to display the information, without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints, while providing extra value. The integration and user experience is much more natural and enjoyable than the fully immersive systems.
Research project Augmented Reality - contact-analogue Head-Up Display (10/2011)

Research project Augmented Reality – contact-analogue Head-Up Display (10/2011)

In this context, one of the very early examples of head-up displays can be found precisely in aviation, almost 80 years ago. In 1937, the German ReviC12/A fighter aircraft included a basic reflector sight indicating some basic aircraft magnitudes such as speed and turn rate, to reduce the (visual) workload of pilots in case of extreme maneuvering
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Nowadays virtually all modern fighters (F18, F16, Eurofighter) use head-up displays. The most modern versions (F35) do not have head-up displays, and instead include helmet mounted displays, ensuring the proper orientation of the user’s head, for all circumstances.
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One of the trending topics of augmented reality within aviation is its usage in air traffic control (ATC), particularly in Tower environments. Below are two common approaches:

  • Visual information is enhanced to ease identification and tracking of aircraft. This includes tools similar to head-up displays and/or helmets-displays that enhance the information (providing for instance, aircraft ID, scheduled times, etc). This approach could be extremely useful in low visibility conditions by facilitating the tower ATCOs tasks. It also avoids dividing attention between the primary visual field (the window) and the auxiliary tools (surface radar, strips etc).

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  • The extreme version is a complete virtual control tower, the so called “remote tower”. ATC would have remote control rooms with video-sensors on-site, including augmented reality enhancements. The synthetic augmentation of vision increases the situational awareness at the airport, especially during poor visibility conditions, or blocked line-of-sight areas due to airport geometry. It additionally provides benefits in terms of cost saving (no need to build and maintain control tower facilities) and a more efficient use of human resources (potentially serving multiple airports with low traffic events from a centralised location). Research in this field started in FP6 project “ART” and is now being progressed by SESAR WP6. In fact, Örnsköldsvik/Gideå airport is the first on the world deployment of remote tower, in late 2015, by the Swedish LFV. In US, Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport was the first approved and tested airport with a remote tower in 2016.

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For the air passenger and mobility context, augmented reality and the wide range of solutions providing additional real-time information to passengers is taking off as well. (No pun intended.)
These technological innovations include indoor location tracking, real-time information on boarding gates, real-time updates on flight delays, and information on airport facilities and shops. This is also being expanded to knowing the number and location of available parking spaces to facilitate the passenger experience in the (sometimes not so easy) airport processes. For example, Copenhagen airport, in collaboration with SITA, created the very first augmented reality indoor app in 2012. Now there is an endless list of both airlines and airports with similar apps.
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Do you think augmented reality together with innovative data visualization can have a significant impact in future aviation?
What are its challenges and potential benefits?
We’re interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas.

Airport Economic Value study published!

The Modelling Airport Economic Value Study recently published (link here) has been made by the University of Westminster (Andrew Cook, Gerald Gurtner, Graham Tanner and Anne Graham) and Innaxis Research Institute (Samuel Cristobal), supporting EUROCONTROL (Denis Huet and Bruno Desart) within SESAR Project 06.03.01. The study provides a better understanding of the interdependencies of various key performance indicators (KPIs) and assesses the existence and behaviour of an airport economic optimum, in a similar way to the early 2000s, when estimating the economic en-route capacity optimum.

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By gathering for the first time real operational, financial and passenger-satisfaction-related data over 32 European airports, it was possible to develop and calibrate a model which produces reliable and realistic results. The fully calibrated results show the presence of a trade-off between the cost of extra capacity and the increase in the number of flights operated. As a consequence, all 32 airports exhibit a maximum in net income as a function of capacity, when the marginal cost of operating extra capacity is sufficiently low. This threshold in the marginal cost is, however, rather different across airports, and only a few airports can sustain a high cost of capacity: these are the largest and most congested airports, which clearly need extra capacity. This threshold is roughly consistent with the airports’ current operational cost of capacity, which means that they should be able to manage this growth, subject to the availability of investment.

The team has also developed a tool that provides access to all the features of the mathematical model with out having to dig into the equations. The underlying mathematical module is written in Python, while the interface is written in Matlab. The communication between the modules is transparent to the user and the software is capable of auto-calibrate the airport model using the existing or new data. The tool is flexible to explore the parameter space and different views of the output variables can be selected for a better understanding of the model outcomes. Results can be saved then in common format for further use (txt, csv, png, fig, etc.)

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We warmly invite you to read the full report here!

Congrats to Samuel/UoW colleagues for such a superb study 😉

 

INXmas greetings, 2017

We have had lots of fun innovating in 2016, so we are eager for a 2017 full of harder technical and scientific challenges, new research threads and complex innovation.

All the Innaxis team wish you a Merry Xmas break -including some fun and rest-  and a superb 2017!

ho ho ho!!!

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Information, time, knowledge

We live in a world that gathers exponentially increasing amounts of information/data coming from endless sources, and a limited time to analyse it.

What is the current speed of “creating” information/data? What about knowledge/wisdom? What is the role of Data Science and Big Data in this context?

Food for thought for your -deserved- summer break! Enjoy, charge your batteries and get ready for a 2016/2017 year full of cutting-edge research, innovation (and Innaxis blogposts!)

 

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Innaxis at ICRAT 2016

Between June 20 to 24, our PhD student Seddik Belkoura went at the very doorstep of the famous Rocky Balboa Statue, as the seventh edition of the International Conference on Air Transport (ICRAT) was held at Drexel University (Philadelphia, USA) . This successful event, co-organised by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration-USA) and EUROCONTROL, put the emphasis the next generation of researchers, with a strong participations of students keen on interacting with more mature and expert minds.

 

In Seddik’s presentation during the conference, he wanted to highlight the dynamic nature of the delay propagation process in Air Transportation. He showed in his talk that abnormal delays at a given airport (those with an unexpected magnitude) can perturb the way the delays are propagated in “normal” conditions. The quantity of “surprise” necessary to disrupt an airport can be quantifiable, and an approximation of the additional delay necessary to disrupt the propagative dynamics of each airport have been proposed by Seddik. The audience’s interest at this point indicated that work have still have to be done to master all the complex behaviours of some processes like delay propagations.

 

The event was a success, and the areas of investigation within Air Transportation were quite wide. One special note have been noticed by Seddik: the growing number of presentation (and attention) to drones. The recentness of the concept and the velocity with which it develops and spreads is such that it deserves a special attention. Legislation are not yet fully explicit and a lot of work to design the “future” if happening right now. It is the moment to use our experience with Aviation to better fashion the drone system. Specifically, the importance of data should be pointed out, to allow a better development and a continuous improvement of this new and growing complex system.

 

Seddik’s paper and the presentation about drones will be soon available on the official website of the conference (http://www.icrat.org/)

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Mainstream economics are not delivering what humanity needs

Innaxis at the XIII International Colloquium of the World Academy of Arts and Science (WAAS)

Lisbon 11th -13th May 2016

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WAAS members where invited during a three day conference at the Lisbon School of Economics and Management to discuss “Post 2008 Global Dynamics and Structural Changes: Economic, Political and Eco-Societal Transitions”.

The international financial crisis in 2008 sparked a plea for systemic paradigm shift regarding the orientation of policies of economic management. The request amongst decision makers and international organizations for profound changes in our economic system have unfortunately only been very short-lived.

Instead a “business as usual” agenda has been put in place driven by unquestioned mainstream economic theories.

However the present interconnected crises of unemployment, growing inequality and environmental destruction (just to name some of them) show that these challenges are not correctly addressed by the current dominant framework of economic thought.

In light of these developments, the aim of the meeting was to discuss the future of “Economics” as a science, its inherent shortfalls and usefulness.

The participants of the colloquium examined the changes since the period in which most prevalent economic concepts were formulated and assessed their relevance to the radical changes that have transformed economic activity since then.

Carlos Alvarez Pereira President of Innaxis, presented at the Colloquia « Towards a Society of Living » the vision of a new work programme currently under development at Innaxis. In his presentation he explored the shortcomings of our current understanding of economics and the gridlocks that prevent us from transforming our societies. In addition, he stressed that the transformation paths have to go beyond narratives based on technology-driven solutions, which are currently, in times of rapid digitalization, very appealing but insufficient or even misleading. He proposed pathways for reformulating economics as part of a larger, complex societal-scale system which addresses human needs in harmony with nature.

During the meeting WAAS members decided to produce a new academic curriculum for students, based on alternative economic theories including human-centered, value-based, ecologically sustainable economic thinking.

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Complex networks, data mining, causality, and beyond

Over the last few weeks Innaxis has published two papers that may be of interest to air transport researchers, among others.

The first paper is an extensive review on the combined use of complex network theory and data mining. Not only do complex network analysis and data mining share the same goal in general- that of extracting information from complex systems to ultimately create a new compact quantifiable representation- but they also often address similar problems as well. Despite these commonalities, a surprisingly low number of researchers take advantage of methodologies, as many conclude that these two fields are either largely redundant or totally antithetic. In this review, we challenge this perception, show how this state of affairs should be relegated to contingent rather than conceptual differences, and that these two fields can in fact advantageously be used in a synergistic manner. The review starts by presenting an overview of both fields, and by illustrating some of their fundamental concepts. A variety of contexts in which complex network theory and data mining have been used in a synergistic manner are then presented. Finally, all discussed concepts are illustrated with worked examples through a series of hands-on sections, which we hope will help the reader to put these ideas in practice. If you ever wonder how a real-world problem can be tackled by these two techniques, you should definitively read this review!

 

 

The second paper addresses the common misinterpretation of correlation vs causality. Following this idea, many causality metrics have been proposed in the literature, all sharing a same drawback: they are defined for time series. In other words, the system (or systems) under analysis should display a time evolution. Associating causality to the temporal domain is intuitive, due to the way the human brain incorporates time into our perception of causality; nevertheless, such association results in some rather important problems.

For instance, suppose one is trying to detect if there is a causality relation between the workload of an ATC controller and the appearance of loss of separation events. These events are only defined at one point in time. To illustrate, one can detect an instance of a loss of separation and check the corresponding workload; afterwards, perform the same actions for another event; and so forth. In the end, the researcher would get two vectors of features, which do not encode any temporal evolutions – in other words, consecutive values are not correlated. So, in this situation, how can we detect if a true causality (and not just a correlation) is present?

In this paper we propose a novel metric able to detect causality within static data sets, by analysing how extreme events in one element correspond to the appearance of extreme events in a second element- refer to the picture above for a graphical representation. The metric is able to detect non-linear causalities, to analyse both cross-sectional and longitudinal data sets, and to discriminate between real causalities and correlations caused by confounding factors.

If you are interested in these ideas, feel free to have a look at these two papers:

M. Zanin et al., Combining complex networks and data mining: why and how. Physics Reports (2016), pp. 1-44. http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1T3yF_8QfbYE-k. Also available at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.08816
M. Zanin, On causality of extreme events. PeerJ. Also available at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1601.07054

If you have questions about them, please contact M. Zanin at mzanin@innaxis.org

Finally, Seddik Belkoura is going to present a paper at the forthcoming ICRAT 2016, Philadelphia, about the use of the static causality metric to study delay propagation. You can find the paper on the official website of the conference (http://www.icrat.org/), and also by contacting him at sb@innaxis.org.

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Innaxis farthest east: CHINA! 1st EU-US-Chinese symposium on CS in Air Transport

Between April 10 to 12, our Principal Researcher Massimiliano Zanin made a long trip. The objective: co-organise the first Chinese / EU / USA Symposium on Complexity Science in Air Transportation, which took place in the Beihang University, Beijing.

The event has been a success, including invited keynotes of leading researchers like Shlomo Havlin, of the Bar-Ilan University, and Mark Hansen of UC Berkeley. Noteworthy has also been the participation of the ComplexWorld network, through Andrew Cook (University of Westminster) and Fabrizio Lillo (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa).

As for Massimiliano, he presented an unconventional idea in his talk “The air transport vs. the human brain: two worlds apart?”: the human brain and the air transport are two systems not at all different, which can (and ought to) be studied using the same techniques drawn from statistical physics. By considering the air transport as an information processing system, the strategies used in neuroscience can seamlessly be adapted, in order to improve our knowledge of processes like delay propagations. This idea has been illustrated using several examples, drawn from some research works done in collaboration with Seddik Belkoura and Andrew Cook in the past two years.

 

 

More information about the event is available at: http://airnets.de/Symposium2016/index.html

Additionally, if reading Chinese is not a problem for you, you may be interested in the press release in the Beihang University website: http://news.buaa.edu.cn/zhxw/95477.htm

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