Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
CEOCFO: Ms. Mezic, what is the concept behind AIMdyn, Inc?
Ms. Mezic: The concept of AIMdyn is that we are the company that loves big, messy data. We can unscramble practically any data and make sense out of it to solve very difficult problems. For example, when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, we used our proprietary software and were able to predict where the oil would go within a mile, three days in advance. Our research was published in a prestigious magazine “Science”. Same algorithms and methods were later used to locate the most recent oil spill in Santa Barbara. And this is just one of the examples of what we can do.
CEOCFO: At the company, what do you understand about working with big data that other people may miss or just do not recognize?
Ms. Mezic: My husband, Prof. Igor Mezic, and I established this company in 2003. Igor is a world-renowned applied mathematician and a founder of the Koopman/Mezic Mode decomposition techniques. He developed numerous algorithms that can descramble very complicated big data. Those are proprietary to our company, no one else has them! AIMdyn is able to apply these computational methods to various world problems, from prediction of COVID 19 spread to sea ice melting to social science problems and many others.
CEOCFO: Where, if at all, does the human element come in? You use the algorithm, but what is the “people” input?
Ms. Mezic: AIMdyn researchers have to adjust our algorithms for a specific problem that we encounter. We also sometimes seek out domain specialists, like chemical engineers or social scientists or others, and ask for their expertise.
CEOCFO: How do you reach out? How do you reach the people that should know about the company?
Ms. Mezic: That is a great question. As a small company, we do not do much advertising or marketing. The majority of our work is with government contractors and government agencies. We work a lot with DoD and other agencies, such as National Institute of Health and National Science Foundation. We also collaborate with many universities and partner with some big corporations like BAE Systems. We became known through our successes, basically through the word of mouth, which is somewhat strange that it is still possible these days. I guess, this is because our work is of high quality with the amazing results.
CEOCFO: We came upon AIMdyn from a press release regarding predicting recent political insurgency and social media. Would you tell us how you got involved in that and what you found?
Ms. Mezic: Actually, our very first research project at AIMdyn was related to agent-based modeling of drinking behavior. Since then, we almost always had agent-based research going on. Our company is small and super tight knit. Daily, we have multiple work calls. We are actually working remotely now, for the safety of our employees, even though we do have an office in Santa Barbara. As we follow daily news, we try to see how our research can be applied to help the society. Some of the examples of our ad-hoc research are: Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara in 2015, the most recent COVID 19 spread and prediction. And now, due to our extensive expertise in agent-based modeling, we were able to explain the influence of social media on 2020/2021 insurgency events.
CEOCFO: Is there anything you cannot work on? Are there certain topics, industries or ideas that will not fit or cannot fit? What might fit best and what is just not going to fly, even though you have great algorithms?
Ms. Mezic: I would say that there is basically no area where we cannot apply our methods or algorithms. Nowadays everything has big data and we are so good at tackling big data. We can always adjust our proprietary software and algorithms to fit the needs of any industry or field of science, from medical to aerospace.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? You founded AIMdyn about fifteen years ago. What have you learned over the years?
Ms. Mezic: What have we learned? When something does not work, try a different approach, accept that things are constantly changing and that you have to be flexible, advance with the current technology and trends, be respectful and kind no matter what.
CEOCFO: It seems to me so powerful to be able to really predict anything and learn and come up with an answer or a very likely answer. Do you feel that sense of power?
Ms. Mezic: I have never thought of it that way! I actually think of our ability to predict being useful rather than exhibiting power. It does feel good to be able to help. That is how I think of it.
CEOCFO: Do you find that when someone, a government agency perhaps, comes to you, they do not pay attention once they get your report at the end? Do they typically make use of what you do or do you find sometimes it maybe does not fit a strategy that either a government agency or a company has and so they do not really utilize the information you have provided?
Ms. Mezic: The government agencies are known to “feel”, very quickly, if something is of value to them or not. You have to report frequently and, if something doesn’t work, they are not going to continue to fund you. This has never happened to us; I have to knock on wood! Our research has been used in many different ways now, and I hope it will be in the future.
CEOCFO: What do you see for 2021? What is the plan for AIMDyn?
Ms. Mezic: My plan for AIMDyn for 2021 would be to make more contacts in the industry, because this is where we need to have better outreach, and that our research and software continue having positive influence in the world.
CEOCFO: Why now? Why is this time for more outreach?
Ms. Mezic: We have already established a great rapport with the government agencies and I feel we can bring a lot to the industry now. We have developed an excellent way of “new thinking”, we have fast and adaptable algorithms for whatever challenges may come. This is why we call ourselves a contemporary “designer AI” company!