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George's Web Site

Here you will be able to learn about my research, download some of my publications and look at my brief CV.

I am building a KnowledgeBase containing material on Complexity Science and Agent Technology. If you are an enthusiast and find my approach to complexity and agent-based software of interest let us talk about the subject. If we like each other we may even start working together. There are always opportunities for joint research or development projects or for PhD studies. If you want to know about my recent entrepreneurial activity, how I founded a network of multi-agent technology companies, which supply intelligent systems to customers in the USA, Russia, Germany and the UK, please click on ventures.

If you need a consultant see what I accomplished in the past by clicking on consulting and get in touch by phone or email.

Important events that shaped my progress are outlined in the milestones section.

Having Fun and Prospering under Conditions of Complexity

As evolution of our Universe takes its course, the ecological, social, political, cultural and economic environments within which we live and work increase in complexity. The change became particularly noticeable since we began a transition from nation-centred industrial economies to the information-based global economy. A considerable part of the globe is now interconnected by the Internet, information flows rapidly and trading in services, and in particular, in knowledge-based services, gradually replaces trading in goods as the main source of wealth.

I use the word Complexity here as a scientific term denoting a perpetually changing situation characterised by a large number of different autonomous elements engaged in rich interaction; such as global market consisting of a vast number of suppliers and consumers rapidly matching supply to demand and then, as rapidly, changing previously agreed matches, each player trying to increase his/her gain.

To survive and prosper in the complex world the participants must learn the skills of Adaptation and Resilience. They must react rapidly to unexpected events and reorganise their activities with the aim of taking advantage of new opportunities and protecting themselves from new threats. Cooperation with peers is often a good option. The best part of being adaptable and resilient is that it makes working at the edge of chaos highly enjoyable....

This advice is of course not easy to accept and even more difficult to implement. Until recently serious changes in our environment were occurring infrequently and we are primed by evolution and brought up by the educational system to expect a stable world operating in a steady state, at least during the life-span of a generation. It is comforting to be able to plan our lives and live to see our expectations fulfilled. Uncertainty on a large scale feels menacing. The reaction is often: Let us stop this nonsense. Who is in control? Who is behind this unexpected event that affects me so badly? What is government doing about it? Is there a conspiracy? And, of course, there are no ready available answers to these questions and there is no possibility to stop the world and get off. Some individuals can “give up the rat race” and escape to remote areas, which are not yet affected, but is this the best we can do? What if we all attempt to do it?

I have spent the best part of my research career trying to understand how to live, work and enjoy in the increasingly complex world. The task is enormous and I pursued it in cooperation with many individuals and institutions with a variety of skills. As an academic, I researched and devised educational programmes; as a consultant, I offered advice to industry, commerce and administrations; as an engineer, I designed helpful tools. 

Research is however not an activity that can be controlled. As you pursue the creation of new ideas, theories or practical tools, your mind inevitably takes control and diverts your effort into unplanned directions. Once I realised that Intelligence is the key attribute that can circumnavigate Complexity, I began a concerted effort to find out how to create Artificial Intelligence (AI). I found traditional methods pursued by AI community unsatisfactory because of the importance they give to logic. The work of epistemologists and neurophysiologists clearly pointed into different directions – towards trial-and-error methods; selection through competition, cooperation, negotiation, random departures and self-organisation.

All these attributes can be realised in large-scale multi-agent software, where agents in themselves are not particularly intelligent and yet are capable of creating useful intelligence that emerges from their interaction.
This is not surprising. After all, the human mind, the pinnacle of complexity, with a capacity to learn; to understand; to create ideas, knowledge, artefacts and even art, emerges from the interaction of billions of relatively simple neurons in our brains. Let us see how powerful Emergent Intelligence we can create from the interaction of millions of software agents.

Copyright (c) 2010 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Curriculum Vitae

Professor George Rzevski is an academic, entrepreneur and consultant. He is Professor Emeritus, Complexity Science and Design Group at The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK and Visiting Professor of Multi-Agent Systems at Cologne University of Applied Sciences and Moratuwa University, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

George is a Founder of a network of advanced technology ventures, which include Magenta Corporation, London, UK and Samara, Russia; Rzevski Solutions, London; Knowledge Genesis, London, UK and Hanover, Germany; and Emergent Intelligence Technology Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Until 1999 George was a full-time academic and Professor in Department of Design and Innovation at The Open University, Milton Keynes, where he was Director, Centre for the Design of Intelligent Systems. His Centre was well funded by grants from government and industry and his Department was rated 5 out of 5 in the two Research Assessment Exercises. As a tribute to his successful research career, the University established recently a new “George Rzevski Complexity Laboratory”.

At The Open University George pioneered undergraduate education in intelligent mechatronics launching a course in which every student experimented with his/her personal intelligent robot.

Professor Rzevski has published widely and delivered keynote papers at numerous international conferences. He supervised PhD projects and acted as external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in many UK university departments. Until recently he has been editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering, published by Elsevier.

He has assessed candidates for tenure on behalf of a number of American universities, including Stamford, Ohio and Texas; examined over 30 PhD students from universities in the UK and abroad, including Cambridge University, Imperial College, LSE, Cardiff University, Singapore University, and National University of Ireland.
For several years George has delivered a regular series of lectures on Economic, Social and Cultural Implications of Global Networks to postgraduate students at London School of Economics.

Throughout his academic career George worked as a consultant for private companies, government administrations and EU on various issues related to advanced information technologies.

He began his academic career in the UK at Kingston Polytechnic, later Kingston University, where he was Professor and Founder Head of Information Systems. At Kingston he launched new undergraduate and postgraduate courses aimed at bringing together disciplines of Information Technology (IT) and Business and led a successful research centre in Computer-Integrated Manufacturing. The Centre worked in close cooperation with leading high-technology companies, including ICL, Xerox, IBM and many others.
George is of Russian origin. His family emigrated from Russia in 1918 and settled in Serbia, where he was born in 1932 and educated at the University of Belgrade. In his late twenties he was given an opportunity to establish a new design office in Belgrade. He handpicked his staff employing only talented young engineers and the design bureaux grew under his leadership into a major organisation capable of undertaking large-scale electrical engineering projects. At the age of 29 George was Chief Designer of all major railways electrification schemes in Yugoslavia.

George moved to the UK in the 1960s where he attended a postgraduate refresher course at Imperial College before joining Kingston.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2010 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.

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RESEARCH

Professor Rzevski's research interests are in the broad field of Complexity Science and Information Society. His work is based on the assumption that due to the combined effects of a strong pull of emerging global markets and the technology push caused by the rapid development of digital computers and global networks, fundamental changes are expected in the way we design human organisations and systems of artefacts. His effort is directed towards understanding these changes and helping to alleviate implications.

Key concepts underlying his research include complexity, change, emergence, self-organisation, information, knowledge, natural and artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, intellectual capital, knowledge management and virtual organisations.

Some of the research topics that he has investigated are listed below:

Managing Complexity

  • Methodologies for managing complexity of socio-technical systems
  • Using concepts and tools of complexity science to manage complexity of large supply chains and logistics processes
  • Designing complexity into socio-technical and engineering systems to make them adaptable

Information Society

  • Complexity of the Internet-based Global Economy
  • Social, political, economic and cultural consequences of the Internet-based Global Economy
  • Learning in Information Society
  • Understanding and managing Intellectual Capital
  • Understanding the concepts of Knowledge Workers and Knowledge Consumers
  • Understanding and managing creative processes such as design and innovation
  • Ontology and Epistemology in philosophy and computer science

Organisations for Information Society

  • Learning organisations and the theory of complexity
  • The synergy between organisations and organisational information systems
  • Complex networked organisations with capabilities for co-evolution and self-organisation
  • Virtual organisations, including virtual design studios, virtual laboratories and virtual manufacturing systems

Technologies and Systems for Information Society

  • Emergent behaviour of intelligent multi-agent systems as exemplified by swarms of intelligent robots, colonies of co-operating agricultural machinery, fleets of satellites, armadas of spacecraft and intelligent structures with variable geometry
  • Applications of software agents in logistics, e-commerce and knowledge management
  • Emergent intelligence of large-scale multi-agent systems
  • Software genes as a mechanism for growth and self-assembly of computer programs
  • Software reliability, particularly organisational, cultural, social and psychological factors that affect the occurrence of errors in programming
  • Self-organisation in engineering systems
  • Ontology and multi-agent systems
  • Multimedia technology for the Internet-based learning systems

 

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KnowledgeBase

This KnowledgeBase contains useful material on Applied Complexity Science and Agent Technology. It will grow to become a useful source of knowledge for beginners and experts alike. Please note: Some of the material can be downloaded for personal use only.

George Rzevski - Selected Recent Publications

2009

  • Glaschenko, A., Ivaschenko, A., Rzevski, G., Skobelev, P. “Multi-Agent Real Time Scheduling System for Taxi Companies”. Proc. of 8th Int. Conf. on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2009), Decker, Sichman, Sierra, and Castelfranchi (eds.), May, 10–15, 2009, Budapest, Hungary.

2008

2007

  • Emergent Intelligence in Large Scale Multi-Agent Systems”. International Journal of Education and Information Technology, Issue 2, Volume 1, 2007, pp 64-71.
  • Rzevski, G., Skobelev, P. Andreev, V. “MagentaToolkit: A Set of Multi-Agent Tools for Developing Adaptive Real-Time Applications”. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 4659, 303-313, 2007.
  • Andreev, M., Rzevski, G., Skobelev, P., Shveykin, P., Tsarev, A., Tugashev, A. “Adaptive Planning for Supply Chain Networks”. In Marik, V., Vyatkin, V., Colombo, A. W. (eds.) Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems for Manufacturing. Third International Conference on Industrial Applications of Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems, HoloMAS 2007, Regensburg, Germany, September 2007, pp 215-225. Springer LNAI 4659.
  • Minakov, Igor, Rzevski, George, Skobelev, Petr, Volman, Simon, “Creating Contract Templates for Car Insurance Using Multi-Agent Based Text Understanding and Clustering”. In Marik, V., Vyatkin, V., Colombo, A. W. (eds.) Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems for Manufacturing. Third International Conference on Industrial Applications of Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems, HoloMAS 2007, Regensburg, Germany, September 2007, pp 361-371. Springer LNAI 4659.
  • Rzevski George, Skobelev, Petr, Minakov, Igor and Volman, Semen, “Dynamic Pattern Discovery using Multi-Agent Technology”. Proceedings of the 6th WSEAS International Conference on Telecommunications and Informatics (TELE_INFO ’07), Dallas, Texas, USA, March 22-24, 2007, pp 75-81. ISBN: 978-960-8457-60-7.
  • Rzevski, George, “Planning under Conditions of Uncertainty”. Keynote. In Fedosov, E. A., Kuznetsov, N.A., Vittikh, V.A. Complex Systems: Control and Modelling Problems, pp 3-12, Russian Academy of Sciences, Samara, 22-28 June 2007.

2006

  • Rzevski, G., “Practical Applications of Large-Scale Multi-Agent Systems”. Keynote, 1st International Conference on Business Information, Organisation and Process Management  (BIOPoM 2006), Westminster Business School, University of Westminster London, June, 2006.
  • Minakov, Igor, Rzevski, George, Skobelev, Petr, Volman, Semen: Automatic Generation of Business Rules for Logistics Company using Multi-agent clustering, 1st International Conference on Business Information, Organisation and Process Management  (BIOPoM 2006), Westminster Business School, University of Westminster London, June, 2006.
  • Rzevski, G, “On Emergent Properties of Complex Systems”. Keynote. In Fedosov, E. A., Kuznetsov, N.A., Vittikh, V.A. Complex Systems: Control and Modelling Problems, pp 3-10, Russian Academy of Sciences, Samara, 20-25 June 2006.
  • Rzevski, G., “Complex Adaptive Software Systems as the New Paradigm for the 21st Century”. South East ICT Conference, Belgrade, May 2006.
  • Rzevski, G., Himoff, J., Skobelev, P., “Magenta Technology: A Family of Multi-Agent Intelligent Schedulers”. Workshop on Software Agents in Information Systems and Industrial Applications (SAISIA). February 2006. Fraunhofer IITB.

2005

  • Basra, R., Lü, k., Rzevski, G., Skobelev, P., “Resolving Scheduling Issues of the London Underground Using a Multi-Agent System”. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (Subseries of Lecture Notes in Computer Science) 3593, 188-196, 2005.
  • Rzevski, G. “Ontology and Relativity”. Keynote. Volga Conference on Complex Adaptive Systems, Samara, Russia, June 2005.

2004

2003

  • Rzevski, G, Skobelev, P, Batishchev, S, Orlov, A.: “A Framework for Multi-Agent Modelling of Virtual Organisations”. In Camarinha-Matos, L M and Afsarmanesh, H (eds), Processes and foundations for Virtual Organisations, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, pp. 253-260.
  • Rzevski, G.: “On conceptual Design of Intelligent Mechatronic Systems”. Mechatronics 13 (2003) pp. 1029 – 1044.
  • Rzevski, G: “Multi-Agent Systems: The Myth or Practical Reality?” Keynote. Volga Conference on Complex Adaptive Systems, Samara, Russia, 2003.

 2002

  • Hlupic, Vlatka, Pouloudi, Nancy and Rzevski, George: "Knowledge Management in E-commerce: The Use of Intelligent Agents", Proceedings of the ITI’02 (Information Technology Interface) Conference, Cavtat, June 2002, Croatia, SRCE University Computing Centre, pp. 349-356.
  • Hlupic, Vlatka, Pouloudi, Anasthasia and Rzevski, George: "Towards an integrated approach to Knowledge Management: 'Hard', 'Soft' and 'Abstract' issues", Knowledge and Process Management, the Journal of Corporate Transformation, 9(0), pp.1-14, 2002.
  • Alwis, Dee, Hlupic, Vlatka and Rzevski, George: "Designing Organisational Memory in Knowledge Intensive Companies: A Case Study", in "Knowledge and Business Process Management", (Ed. By Hlupic V.), Idea Group Publishing, 2002.
  • Hlupic, Vlatka, Pouloudi, Nancy and Rzevski, George: "Intelligent Agents for Knowledge Management in E-Commerce: Opportunities and Challenges", in "Knowledge and Business Process Management", (Ed. Hlupic V.), Idea Group Publishing, 2002.

2001

  • Rzevski, George, Skobelev, Peter and Korablin, Mikhail: “Multi-Agent Models of Networked Organisations”. Proc. of Intern. Workshop "New Models of Business: Managerial Aspects and Enabling Technology", School of Management of Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, June 28-29, 2001, pp. 46-49.
  • Iwkushkin, K., Minakov, I., Rzevski, G. and Skobelev, P.: “Magenta Multi-Agent Engine for Desktop Applications”. Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Computer Science and Information Technologies CSIT'2001, Ufa, Russia, 21-26 September 2001. - Ufa State Aviation Technical University - Institute JurInfoR-MSU, Vol. 1: Regular Papers, 2001, 81-89 pp.
  • Batishchev, S., Iwkushkin, K., Minakov, I., Skobelev, P. and Rzevski, G.: “Magenta Multi-Agent Systems: Engines, Ontologies and Applications”. Proc. of the 3rd Intern. Workshop on Computer Science and Information Technologies CSIT'2001, Ufa, Russia, 21-26 September 2001. - Ufa State Aviation Technical University - Institute JurInfoR-MSU, Vol. 1: Regular Papers, 2001, 73-80 pp
  • Andreev V., Iwkushkin K., Minakov I., Rzevski G., Skobelev P.: The Constructor of Ontologies for Multi-Agent Systems. In 3rd International Conference ‘Complex Systems: Control and Modelling Problems’, Samara, Russia, September 4-9 2001, 480 – 488.
  • Alwis, Dee, Hlupic, Vlatka and Rzevski, George: "Designing Organisational Memory in Knowledge Intensive Companies: A Case Study", Proceedings of the UKAIS 2001, UK Academy of Information Systems Conference, Portsmouth, UK, April 2001.

2000

  • Rzevski, George, Pouloudi, Nancy and Hlupic, Vlatka: "The Scope and Applications of Knowledge Management Research: An Integrated Approach". In Edwards, J & Kidd, J. (Eds.) The Knowledge Management Conference (KMAC 2000) Knowledge Management beyond the hype: looking towards the new millennium. Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK, 17-18 July 2000, pp. 304-312, 2000. (ISBN 0903440210).

1998

  • Rzevski, G, Prasad, K, “The Synergy of Learning Organisations and Flexible Information Technology”. AI and Society volume 12, pp 87-96. 1998.
  • Andreev, V., Volhontsev, D., Iwkushkin, K., Karyagin, D., Minakov, I., Rzevski, G., Skobelev, P.: “Multi-Agent System for Knowledge Management”. Proc. of XIII Intern. Conference on the Application of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering. Ireland, Galway, 1998, pp. 91-96
  • Brace, G, Rzevski, G, ERP – “Elephants Rarely Pirouette”. Logistics Focus Vol6 No9 1998.
  • Rzevski, G, “Engineering Design for the Next Millennium: The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence”. The 86th Thomas Hawksley Memorial Lecture, IMechE, 9 December 1998.
  • Adey, R. A., Rzevski, G, Noland, P. (eds), “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering XIII”, Computational Mechanics Publications, 1998.

1997

  • Rzevski, G, “A Methodology and a Virtual Design Studio for Designing Mechatronics Systems”. Proceedings of Mechatronics Conference, Duisburg, Germany, September 1997.
  • Stacey, M K, Rzevski, G, Sharp, H C, Petre, M, and Buckland, R A, “Intelligent Support for Conceptual Design: A Flow Modelling Approach”. Proceedings of ICED 97, August 1997.
  • Rzevski, G, “Multi-Agent Systems in Engineering”, Keynote Paper. AIENG97 Conf, Capri, Italy, July 1997.
  • Rzevski, G, Buckland, R, “Value Chain Management in Space Industry”. Keynote Paper. BNSC Workshop, April 1997.
  • Rzevski, G, “A Framework for Designing Intelligent Manufacturing Systems”. Computers in Industry, 34 (1997) 211-219.
  • Adey, R. A., Rzevski, G. and Teti, R. (eds), “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering XII”, Computational Mechanics Publications, 1997.

1996

  • Rzevski, G, “Intelligent Machines and Systems: Trends”. Keynote Paper. Proceedings of the International Conf on Industrial Systems, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, 1-3 October 1996.
  • Rzevski, G, “The Concept of Virtual Design Studio”. Keynote Paper. Proceedings of the East-West Conference on IT in Design Moscow, 1-3 July 1996.
  • Wiese, P R and Rzevski, G, “IT Support for Strategic Design”. Proceedings of the East-West Conference on IT in Design Moscow, 1-3 July 1996.
  • Lucas-Smith, A and Rzevski, G, “Information Technology Support for Distributed, Collaborative Design of Mechatronic Systems”. Proceedings of the East-West Conference on IT in Design Moscow, 1-3 July 1996.
  • Rzevski, G and Buckland, R, “New Thinking In R&D Management”. Proceedings of European Space R&D Workshop The Challenge of Change, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 14-15 February 1996.
  • Stacey, M K, Petre, M, Rzevski, G, Sharp, H C, and Buckland, R A, “Beyond Engineering Bias: Designing a Tool to Liberate Conceptual Design”. In Blandford, A and Thimbleby, H (eds), Adjunct Proceedings of HCI 96, London, 1996.
  • Stacey, M K, Sharp, H C, Petre, M, Rzevski, G, and Buckland, R A, “A Representation Scheme to Support Conceptual Design of Mechatronic Systems”. In Gero, J S, Sudweeks, F, (eds) Artificial Intelligence in Design 96. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996.
  • Adey, R. A., Rzevski, G. and Sunol, A. K. (eds), “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering XI”, Computational Mechanics Publications, 1996.

1995

  • Rzevski, G, “Global Information Systems and Organisational Change”. IFAC Conference, Berlin, September 1995.
  • Rzevski, G, “A Framework for the Design of Intelligent Manufacturing Systems”. ICIM95 Conf, Lisbon, Cascais, August 1995.
  • Rzevski, G, “Artificial Intelligence in Engineering: Past, Present and Future”. Keynote Paper. AIENG95 Conf, Udine, Italy, July 1995.
  • Rzevski, G, “Intelligent Systems: Issues and Trends”. Keynote Paper. International Conf on Intelligent Manufacturing, Wuhan, China, June 1995.
  • Rzevski, G, FACADE: “Concurrent Engineering Applied to Multi-Technology Products”. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Concurrent/Simultaneous Engineering Frameworks and Applications, Lisbon, April 1995.
  • Rzevski, G (ed), “Mechatronics: Designing Intelligent Machines”, Butterworth Heinemann, 1995.
  • Rzevski, G, Adey, R A, Tasso, C (eds), “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering X”.  Computational Mechanics Publications, 1995.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2008 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.

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VENTURES

Rzevski Solutions Ltd, London, UK

Emergent Intelligence Technology, Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA

Magenta Corporation Ltd, London, UK and Samara, Russia

Knowledge Genesis Ltd, London, UK, Hanover, Germany and Samara, Russia

Rzevski Solutions offers consulting services.
Emergent intelligence Technology is a new venture, not yet fully developed.
During the ten-year period, 1999 – 2009, Magenta Corporation and Knowledge Genesis have developed, based on principles and methods discovered and articulated by George, a very large number of complexity management systems using multi-agent technology, which are in commercial use. All these systems have one feature in common – they have succeeded in solving problems, which were considered too complex for generally available conventional methods and tools. Examples of selected successfully developed and implemented complexity management systems, include:

  1. Managing in real time a fleet of 2,000 taxis, for a transportation company in London
  2. Managing in real time a large fleet of car rentals, for one of the largest car rental operators in Europe
  3. Managing in real time 10% of the world capacity of crude oil sea-going tankers, for a tanker management company in London
  4. Resolving clashes in aircraft wing design for the largest commercial airliner in Europe
  5. Real-time scheduling of a large fleet of trucks transporting parcels across the UK
  6. Agent-based simulator for modelling the airport and in-flight, RFID-based, catering supply chain, luggage handling processes, and passenger processing, for a research consortium in Germany
  7. Selecting relevant abstracts for a research team using agent-based semantic search, for a genome mapping laboratory in the USA
  8. Discovering rules and patterns in data using agent-based dynamic data mining technology, for a logistics company in the UK
  9. Managing social benefits for citizens supplied with electronic id cards, for a large region in Russia

Two of these case studies are described in some detail below.

Case 1: Real-Time Management of a Large Fleet of Taxis

Introduction

The largest corporate taxi operator in London has a modern ERP system and a call centre with about 130 operators receiving orders concurrently. Some orders are received through the company website. Magenta Corporation has successfully developed and implemented an intelligent taxi management system, which is in commercial use.

Problem Description

The characteristics of this taxi service are as follows:

  • A very large fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles (each with a GPS navigation system)
  • A very large number of orders: more than 13,000 orders per day; the order flow occasionally exceeds the rate of 1,500 orders per hour; order arrival times and locations are unpredictable
  • A large variety of clients – personal, corporate (VIPs, with a variety of discounted tariffs, with special requirements concerning drivers), disabled, requiring child seats, requiring transportation of pets, etc.
  • A large variety of vehicles, including minivans and cabs, some with special equipment to match special requirements of clients
  • A large number of freelance drivers who lease cars from the company and are allowed to start and finish their shifts at times that suite them, which may differ from one day to another
  • At any time around 700 drivers are working concurrently, competing with each other for clients
  • Guaranteed pick up of clients in the centre of London within 15 minutes from the time of placing an order
  • Unpredictability of traffic congestions in various parts of London causing delays and consequently the interruption of schedules
  • Unpredictability of times spent in queues at airports and railway stations
  • No-show of clients and failure of vehicles
  • A number of exceptions to the general requirement to find the best economic match between a vehicle and a client, such as: (a) matching drivers that drive home after finishing their shifts with passengers travelling in the same direction (to reduce drivers’ idle runs) and (b) giving priority to drivers that during a particular day had less work than others (to increase drivers’ satisfaction with working conditions); exceptions of this kind may be changed at any time

Scheduling of vehicles and drivers under such conditions represents an exceedingly complex process, which is not feasible to achieve with any known mathematical method. The company used manual scheduling by a large number of very skilled dispatchers.

The Solution

An ontology-based, event-driven, multi-agent scheduler was designed, implemented and successfully commissioned. The scheduler improved the profitability of the service by 7% within the first month of operation.
Ontology objects are exemplified by (a) orders, with attributes: place of pick-up and drop; urgent or booked in advance; type of service (minivan, VIP, etc.); importance (a number from 0 to 100 depending on the client); special requirements (transport of pets, need for child chair, etc.); and (b) vehicles with drivers, with attributes: type of vehicle; capability to fulfil the jobs under special instructions; driver experience (novice or experienced); location of drivers homes; current vehicle location (GPS coordinates); driver state (“unavailable”, “break”, “working”, “free”, “will be free in 5/10 minutes”, ”ready to travel home”).
Experienced dispatchers have facilities to overrule the system and to deal with exceptions.

Case 2: Managing a Large Fleet of Cars for Rental

Introduction

The customer is one of the largest car rental companies in the world with a very large operation in Europe. European territory of the rent-a-car business is divided into a number of small regions, each consisting of several rental stations; regional offices are the locations where orders are received, cars are serviced and waiting to be delivered and where drivers begin their working day; cars are picked up by customers and returned at rental stations. Magenta Corporation has developed and successfully tested an intelligent car rental management system for three such regions and is commissioned to extend the system to the whole service.

Problem Description

The characteristics of this rent-a-car business are as follows:

  • Business processes contain activities that have to be performed in certain logical sequences and at, or between, different locations at different times (e.g., washing cars, delivering them to rental stations and returning them to home regions; transportation of drivers from their home bases to their cars, which may involve additional cars and drivers)
  • Unpredictable events that affect the service include arrivals of new orders, changes of orders, order cancellations, breakdowns of cars, no-shows of clients or drivers, misplaced keys, non-conformation of work instructions or of completed work by drivers, seek leaves, delays due to traffic congestions or weather conditions, etc.
  • Scheduling decisions must take into account preferences of clients, costs and durations of activities, such as delivering cars to rental stations and returning them to regional offices (which, for example, depend on availability of required cars and drivers, geographical factors and conditions of roads) as well as penalties for delays and for delivering wrong vehicles; drivers are a major constraint because of strictly regulated working hours, overtime payments, human errors (e.g., misplacing mobile phones and therefore not responding to text messages) and the need to return them home every evening
  • Scheduling is primarily concerned with discovering and resolving conflicts among orders and therefore the key activity is a search for trade-offs between different criteria rather than optimization (e.g., in the presence of serious delays it is better to use a more expensive resource if it enables delivery of a car on time; it may be advisable to return a car to its home base even if there is no current assignment for that car because if an order for such a car unpredictably arrives, it is faster to deliver it from its home base than from the field)

The Solution

An ontology-based, event-driven, multi-agent scheduler for one region has been designed, implemented and successfully commissioned. At the time of writing the work on schedulers for other regions was in progress.

 

Copyright (c) 2008 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.

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CONSULTING

Throughout his academic career Professor Rzevski has worked with industry and administrations as an advisor and consultant. He has recently founded a new company, Rzevski Solutions Ltd, specifically to support his consulting activities. Rzevski Solutions undertakes larger projects in collaboration with experts belonging to an international network of highly skilled and experienced researchers and consultants from the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Russia and the USA.
George is currently a member of the panel of international experts “Future Russia” advising Russia on a variety of strategic socio-technological issues.
Below are some of George’s past assignments.

Complex Adaptive Systems and Multi-Agent Technology

One of the largest recent consulting projects was requirements analysis and multi-agent software specification for an air taxi entrepreneur who was planning to run a taxi operation with 50 light jets from 15 small regional airports in Central and Eastern Europe. George, with a group of supporting consultants, specified an advanced Intelligent Air Taxi Management System, capable of real-time scheduling of aircraft, pilots, ground staff, maintenance, cleaning and refuelling, as well as performing dynamic pricing of seats, intelligent forecasting of demand, forward planning of resources, electronic check-in, and performance evaluation.

Software Engineering and Software Reliability

Professor Rzevski advised Hitachi in Tokyo on software engineering for advanced control systems; the assignment specified the aim of achieving error-free software for industrial controllers. Whilst in Tokyo he audited software engineering courses at Hitachi Institute of Technology.
His work abroad included an investigation of reasons for software failures in Danish Electricity Supply Authority and advice to German National Computing Centre, Bonn on software development methodologies.
He took a sabbatical year to help British Aerospace, Stevenage with developing fail-safe software for critical avionics applications and to advise ICL West Gorton on improving reliability of operating systems.
George advised National Computing Centre, Manchester on advantages of evolutionary software development methodologies.

Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing

Professor Rzevski worked with ITT in Stuttgart, Antwerp, Paris and Harlow on the computer-aided design of telephone exchanges and with GEC, Stafford on the computer aided design of turbine generators.
For many years George worked as a consultant to ICL in Putney, Kidsgrove and Reading on quality control systems and material requirements planning.

Socio-Technical and Educational Issues

Later on in his career, Professor Rzevski undertook a wide variety of socio-technical assignments, which gave him a good understanding of how commercial world coped with rapid changes imposed by the emergence of global economy and new technologies.
This included a long-term assignment with Philips, Eindhoven advising on the introduction of advanced computer technology into Philips plants in Holland and Belgium. George provided training and advice for plant managers, supervised feasibility studies and audited plans for large capital projects.
Another of his large Dutch clients was a consortium of top banks, which was formed to finance and supervise the establishment of the first private IT University in The Hague. The idea was to offer postgraduate courses in IT for business, and George was commissioned to evaluate proposals for syllabuses, supporting technology and administrative aspects of the proposed University. The key problem was to match expectations of commerce with aspirations of Dutch academia.
For an extended period of time George worked with leading UK retailers on possible applications of Artificial Intelligence in retail and with engineering companies such as Alcatel, Romford; Lucas Industries, Birmingham; Unilever, Bedford; and Express Lifts, Northampton on wider aspects of managing engineering design and particularly on concurrent engineering.
George has given occasional Master Classes to top engineering managers and senior engineers from BA Systems on Virtual Design Studios, Virtual Manufacturing and Multi-Agent Applications in Design and Manufacturing.

Advising Governments and European Union

Professor Rzevski is currently a member of a panel of international experts advising Russian Government on strategic issues related to advanced technology.
In the past he has contributed to the UK Government Technology Foresight Programmes in Retail and Space Sectors and chaired a EU working group assessing trends in the ways information technology is used in industry and commerce. He conducted a study of competitiveness of the UK space technology companies for the Department of Trade and Industry.
He was a member of an international panel providing help to the Russian Government on issues related to distance education. As a EU expert Professor Rzevski led a Russian team of software designers that developed an advanced Internet-based system for distance education of air-traffic controllers in Russia. The system has been instrumental in preparing Russian air-traffic controllers distributed over vast distances throughout Siberia for communication with Western pilots.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2008 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.

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Milestones

2009 - European Complexity Science Society singles out George’s unique achievements in applying Complexity Science to practical commercial problems

At a European Complex Society conference at Warwick University I was privileged for my work to be named as a major European “success story” in practical applications of concepts and tools of complexity science. I gave a presentation describing complex adaptive systems developed under my leadership that have been successfully implemented in industry. Read the Entire Article

 2008 - Founding Emergent Intelligence Technology Inc. in Jacksonville, FL

In November 2008, together with Petr Skobelev, Herrald Jonkers and Marlene Millemaci I have formed a new advanced technology venture in Jacksonville, Florida with the aim to supply multi-agent software as a service to Healthcare and Logistics industries in the USA.


Jacksonville is a large logistics centre

 

2008 - Founding Knowledge Genesis Germany

In May 2008, together with Petr Skobelev and Udo Inden, I joined a group of entrepreneurs to form another high technology company in Hanover, Germany. The German Knowledge Genesis was a new addition to the growing family that already included Knowledge Genesis, Samara and Knowledge Genesis, London.

2007 & 2008 - Visiting Professorship at Moratuwa University, Colombo, Sri Lanka

My connection with Sri Lanka dates from 1990’s when I was send there by the British Council as a consultant to help Sri Lankan universities develop expertise in IT. I formed then a strong professional relationship with a young researcher Asoka Karunananda, who later spent some time with me in England learning multi-agent technology and, by 2008, was a Professor at Moratuwa. During my last two visits I helped him to establish a strong school in agent-based systems and we undertook joint research projects in developing further the concept of Ontology. Our families are by now great friends and I follow with interest progress of Asoka’s talented son Praveen.

Asoka and George with students on a tea plantation


Helen and George with members of staff

2006 - The opening of "The George Rzevski Complexity Laboratory"

On the 17th of November 2006 The Open University opened a new research laboratory and honoured me by naming it “The George Rzevski Complexity Laboratory”. A ribbon was cut, there were speeches, discussions on the theme of Complexity and a lunch party. The laboratory is well equipped for the Internet-based interactive research and is a home to a robot football team.

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Cutting the ribbon on the new lab

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George and Helen Rzevski
celebrate George's success

1999 - Founding Magenta Technology

In November 1999 I founded Magenta Corporation Ltd with headquarters in London and software development in Samara. Petr Skobelev, a co-founder, undertook to direct a team of talented young Russian programmers. Udo introduced Magenta to Volkswagen and a year later to CargoLifter. Two exciting projects followed.
In 2003 Magenta delivered the first version of the first ever multi-agent scheduler for transportation of oil by very large tankers. The scheduler is aimed at managing 10% of the world total tanker capacity.


1999 - First Volga river conference on complexity

In June 1999 Vladimir Vittikh organised the first of a long series of annual conferences on Complexity Management and invited me to deliver keynote addresses each year on a different topic related to Complexity and Agent Technology. The venue is a passenger boat travelling along Volga river starting and finishing journeys at the Samara port. The Conference quickly established itself as the key forum in Russia for discussing Complexity; and Volga is magnificent.


Udo and Petr ready for disco

Galina and George enjoying sunshine

1998 - Retiring from the full-time academic work

In December 1998 I retired from the full-time academic career but continued research as Professor Emeritus at the OU, and Visiting Professor at a number of universities in the UK, Russia, Germany and China.

1997 - Joining GLORI

In 1997 I was invited by Udo Inden to join GLORI, Global Logistics Research Initiative; my role was to introduce Agent Technology into logistics research. I have continued to work with Udo and we still have joint projects. While driving across Germany on autobahns, or drinking Koelsch and admiring slow and mighty Rhine, we engage in endless discussions how to understand and improve the human condition. Udo helped me to love Germany and to improve my understanding of Complexity.

1990 - Beginning long-term cooperation with Russian researchers

In 1990 I was invited by the Russian Academy of Sciences to give a series of lectures on Agent Technology to researchers of an advanced research institute in Samara. This was my first visit to the country of my ancestors. There I met many wonderful people who helped me to re-establish a relationship with Russia and two of them, Vladimir Vittikh and Petr Skobelev, in addition to becoming my close friends, have played important roles in my professional life.

1989 - Joining the Open University

In 1989 I joined Design and Innovation Department at the Open University where I founded Centre for the Design of Intelligent Systems. There I met Jeff Johnson (who, when I retired, took over my department) and soon Anthony Lucas-Smith joined us from Kingston. Our first project was the development of an advanced course in Intelligent Mechatronics in which every student was given a personal intelligent robot to conduct experiments with a view to improving upon robot intelligence.

Falling in love with complexity and agents

I began my research into Complexity and Agent Technology in the early 80s when still with Kingston University. My first PhD student in multi-agent systems was Anthony Lucas-Smith; he became my colleague and a life-long friend.
 


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Copyright (c) 2010 George Rzevski. All rights reserved.