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The University has created the high school in Science of the data and Artificial Intelligence.

Jesús López Fidalgo, director: "Today there are millions of work jobs in this area and only hundreds of thousands of trained people".

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From left to right, Jesús López Fidalgo (director), Stella Maris Salvatierra (deputy director), Sergio Ardanza-Trevijano (Deputy Director), Elisabeth Viles (deputy director), and José María González Gullón (secretary). PHOTO: Courtesy
10/02/20 14:23

The University of Navarra has launched the high school of Science of the data and Artificial Intelligence. The center is presented as a transversal body that wants to bring together projects of statistical analysis and processing of data that are already being carried out in different Schools and services of the University. In addition, it is born with a clear research vocation in Big Data and training and partnership in this subject.

Among its objectives, the high school aims to promote the publication of research papers in international impact journals and to transfer knowledge and promote partnership with companies. It is presented as a center specialized in the training of professionals in the collection, treatment and analysis of data. "At present, there is talk of millions of work jobs being generated in this area and there are barely hundreds of thousands of trained people. There is a gap between what is needed and what is available. Training these people is our real service to society," explained director, Jesús López Fidalgo

The new high school of the University of Navarra is attached to Tecnun-School of Engineering. Along with Jesús López Fidalgo, the board board is made up of three deputy directors: Elisabeth Viles (Tecnun-School of Engineering), Stella Maris Salvatierra (Economics) and Sergio Ardanza-Trevijano Moras (Sciences); and the secretary, José María González Gullón.

In addition to the University of Navarra, the high school will work with staff from the centers CEITClínica and Cima University of Navarra, among others. And it will incorporate 15 external researchers from companies such as BBVA and HSBC International Banking. Many of these professionals are professors at the Master's Degree in Big Data Science that the University has been teaching since this academic year in the Alumni building in Madrid.

Interview with director, Jesús López Fidalgo

Full Professor e researcher, Jesús López Fidalgo is also the top manager of the Science Unit of the data of Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) and president of the Society of Statistics and Operational research (SEIO). López Fidalgo sees the analysis and treatment of data as something necessary in any project of research and a guarantor of the competitiveness of companies in any field.

Do you talk about the science of the data as the science of the future, which is going to mark the research that will be developed in any field? 

It is not the future, it is the present and also the past. The data analysis for decision making has been done in a scientific way since the 18th century. It is true that the technological revolution, the internet and computers have facilitated access to large amounts of data, analyze them in a massive way and perform calculations in a fast and efficient way.

Why a high school on Science of the data and what are its characteristics? 

The high school aims to be a transversal center. The data analysis is present in all areas of the University. Projects of research of sciences, Economics, geography, health, architecture..., require the treatment and data analysis. The high school wants to bring together all these programs of study that are already underway. 

Can you name a few?

Many of the projects carried out at Cima. For example, the Bioinformatics platform is pioneering Big Data. Before the internet burst in such a way B, these researchers already had the need to analyze large amounts of data coming from genes. Also at School of Architecture we have participated in a study to assess energy efficiency in buildings; and we collaborate in several programs of study related to the promotion of palliative care, within the Atlantes program. At Clínica Universidad de Navarra we have studied the relationship between lifestyles and the risk of developing a disease. And after analysis of the data, physicians can give personalized advice to their patients. I also often say that communication degrees should nowadays be science degrees: information is still on paper but above all it moves on the network. Companies have to manage a great deal data and as long as they know how to do so, they are ahead.

"All business manages data"

Is the processing of data, artificial intelligence, indispensable for companies?

Everyone, business big or small, manages data. It is necessary if you want to move forward and not get stuck. Artificial intelligence leads us to automate processes to achieve higher performance and it's all done with the processing of the data. 

evaluation What is your opinion about the use of Big Data in the business navarra?

The Master's Degree in Big Data Science, which is now being taught in Madrid, was preceded by two expert degrees of its own, in which around 70 people were trained. Approximately one third came from business in Navarra. In the satisfaction surveys, most of them indicated that they were applying what they learned in their business. Some of them managed to work during the course. This seems to me to be an indicator of the potential that the high school can offer to the business in a double aspect, training on the one hand and scientific transfer on the other. In neither aspect is it starting from scratch. There are already data processing projects in different companies in Navarra.

How can data analysis help the operation of a business cannery, for example? 

I see applicability of what the high school can offer in logistics problems, for example, in issues of product stock or its optimal distribution. Going more specifically into the product, many data could be collected throughout the industrial process to study how slight changes in the process affect customer satisfaction or product quality. And of course these data can be used to find reliable customer profiles, leading to higher product satisfaction and of course higher profitability for business.

What will this high school contribute to society? 

The added value will be in coordinating and pooling the potential that the university has in data analysis, which will undoubtedly lead to a better use of it for society. We are thinking of transferring knowledge to companies that need it and that many times it is not a simple application of what is already known but something that requires a work of research. The fact of having all the forces concentrated in high school will lead us to personalize the processes to efficiently meet the demand of the companies.

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