On June 27-30, a large, international conference on forecasting is taking place. A key figure behind the conference is the Skövde professor Nikolaos Kourentzes who wants to help companies and organizations to make better decisions. Some, who have already received his help are Amazon, H&M, and the International Monetary Fund.
The International Symposium on Forecasting is a conference that brings academia and companies together. At the conference, they will discuss topics like business forecasts, economic models, as well as some of our biggest challenges, such as climate change and the Covid 19 pandemic. The conference deals with research in statistics, economics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Wants to put Skövde on the map
Nikolaos Kourentzes has been an active part of the conference and research area for the past 15 years. He is a member of the program committee for this year's conference and acts as an associate editor for the International Journal of Forecasting. Over time, he has gained more and more attention for his research and is often booked as a speaker or workshop organizer at companies and organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, Astra Zeneca, and SAS (software).
For a year, his research has been based at the University of Skövde and the Skövde Artificial Intelligence Lab, known as SAIL. He sees great opportunities with the University now being seen in the same context as some of the leading tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. His goal is to, together with his colleagues, use their international visibility and broad network to take the lead in Swedish forecasting research and thereby put the University of Skövde on the map as the university that leads the work in northern Europe.
Benefits the local business community
He hopes that the university's increased visibility in the research area will be able to help the national and local business community. It is not only about attracting good academics but also the international research activities within large international companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, and leading universities such as Monash University says Nikolaos Kourentzes.
"It will benefit both the national and local business community. Partly because we in Skövde offer expertise but also because we can provide access to our broad network of other universities and international companies".
As part of the WISER initiative at the University of Skövde, Nikolaos Kourentzes and colleagues will also be actively engaged in knowledge transfer with courses targeted to the Swedish industry.
Better forecasts mean better decisions
In his research, Nikolas Kourentzes looks at models, methods, and behavioural and organizational aspects of producing forecasts. What is the best model for creating a forecast for a particular scenario? What data is relevant to our decisions? How should a forecast be translated into a decision and how sure can we be that the forecasts are correct? These are some of the questions that his research can answer.
For a company, it can improve sales forecasts, support operational decisions such as inventory management, marketing planning, and more, but also handle long-term issues such as product life cycles. It is also an important tool for meeting the great challenges of our time.
"Better forecasts mean better decisions, which means less waste and a more sustainable society. In the same way, better forecasts mean that we can handle uncertainty in a better way. It enables better distribution of resources. This could, for example, be about drug distribution to regions in need or distribution of vaccines against Covid-19", says Nikolas Kourentzes.