“Working as a researcher is a continuous, ever-changing challenge!”

In freight logistics, delayed and diverted flights can result in massive additional costs and organizational hassles for transport companies. The environment pays a price, as well. Often, trucks are dispatched to the wrong airports to wait to collect freight containers and then have to be re-routed. Researcher of the month 08/18, Claudio Di Ciccio has developed an early alert system to help inform logistics providers ahead of time about changes in flight plans.

Name: Claudio Di Ciccio

Birth year: 1982

Born and raised in: I grew up in Latina (a city 70km south of Rome), Italy

Preferred career when I was a kid: A goalkeeper or a computer programmer

This is why I became a researcher: Working as a researcher is a continuous, ever-changing challenge. It is meant to spread and increase the scientific knowledge for all, and offers the opportunity to exchange ideas with the most brilliant minds worldwide. I love all this.

This is fascinating about my research:  I could say many things, from the research  spanning over both theoretical abstractions and practical applications, to the international reach of the partner universities and industries, the freedom with which we can conduct our research, the continuous improvement we achieve learning from one another. I focus on the probably most imporant aspect to me then: a fantastic group spirit.

Career goals: Pioneering a new research field

WU Blog: What is the impact of your research on environmental protection?

Claudio di Ciccio: Most of my investigations are based on the numerical elaboration of digitalised information, but I am glad that they can have an impact on the real world. I am proud to have been part of a project (GET Service) in which the primary objective was to reduce emissions in transportation processes. Protecting the environment is key for us, not only as researchers but most of all as inhabitants of the Earth. I am sure there is still a lot to be done.

WU Blog: Do transport companies already use algorithms like the one you have developed to optimize their transport processes?

Claudio di Ciccio: Several representatives from leading industries in the sector attended the final showcase event of the GET Service project and we gathered multiple enthusiastic feedbacks. In line with the academic spirit of divulgation and public awareness of science, the source code of the software platforms we develop are released open-source, to the benefit of all.

WU Blog: You are also researching the field of process mining, which is a technique for analyzing and improving business processes – what are your next steps?

Claudio di Ciccio: Our next step would be in the direction of enhanicing the process of… mining processes. To that extent, we are currently working on the creation of better algorithms for the discovery and simulation of business process rules, and on the analysis of process transactions recorded on blockchains.

WU Blog: Is there a process that you’ve always dreamt of being optimised?

Claudio di Ciccio: I am not a big fan of optimisation, but rather a convinced supporter of improvement. The world evolves, the society evolves, technology evolves, and so must do our processes. A perfect, immutable business process does not exist. Every process in every sector leaves or will leave soon room for improvement, because of its inherent, unavoidable ageing effect.