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August 2007 Issue
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Can business use science to make good decisions?

 Computer Science

Groundbreaking work on new systems that could revolutionise the way businesses make decisions has earned national recognition for a professor in the University of Adelaide's School of Computer Science.

Professor Zbigniew Michalewicz has been made a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for his work into Adaptive Business Intelligence - a new family of systems that use science to help businesses predict and respond to issues related to their operations.

"In the modern information era, managers must recognise the competitive opportunities represented by decision-support tools," Professor Michalewicz said.

"Adaptive Business Intelligence aims to provide significant cost savings and revenue increases for businesses by providing them with a system that enables good, profitable decision-making."

Put simply, Adaptive Business Intelligence helps business to addresses fundamental questions: What is likely to happen in the future? And what is the best decision right now?

Professor Michalewicz said that in the business world, the "ability to make smart decisions" was far more important than just "knowledge".

"Memorising an entire encyclopaedia will not necessarily help you make better decisions - it just means you have more knowledge," he said.

"In the real world, new data is coming in every day, so we need to be able to use that data to predict and respond to situations in ways that will enable us to benefit. This is extremely important for business, because the best decision today may not be the best decision for tomorrow."

Professor Michalewicz is co-author of the book Adaptive Business Intelligence, and the course based on this book was offered to University of Adelaide postgraduate students last semester. He has published more than 200 articles and 15 books on the subject of predictive data mining and logistics optimisation. He is well respected within business, and last year was appointed a Business Ambassador for South Australia by Premier Mike Rann.

South Australian business leaders and members of the public gathered to hear more about Adaptive Business Intelligence at last month's free Research Tuesday seminar at the University. At the seminar, Professor Michalewicz was awarded his ACS fellowship.

The ACS and a number of Australian-based companies have already adopted Adaptive Business Intelligence as part of their professional education programs.

"The support from the business world for Adaptive Business Intelligence has already been strong, and I suspect that support will grow as more people in business understand how it can help them," Professor Michalewicz said.

The book, Adaptive Business Intelligence, is published by Springer press and is available now via the publisher's website ( and online bookstores (such as

Story by David Ellis

To find out more about Computer Science at the University of Adelaide, visit Open Day on Sunday 26 August.

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