Cercia investigated algorithms that can prioritise task lists and allocate individual tasks to vehicles and personnel. For efficiency, the solutions should distribute new work items on an on-demand basis, taking into account all the relevant constraints. This process needs to be extremely rapid, with the interval between independent task completions potentially measured in seconds. Individual staff should receive a new task instantaneously, when requested. The work distribution should be adaptive, able to cope with warehouse configuration changes such as incorrectly-recorded (or damaged) stock; new personnel arriving for work, or existing personnel leaving; vehicles breaking down; job prioritisation changes; new incoming stock; new purchase orders; updates to the warehouse state.
Financial planning and forecasting are essential for any business. Turning "gut feeling" into sound decision-making based on real data, is a huge challenge for both large corporations and SMEs, as well informed decisions mean profits. Severn Trent Water Ltd. has recently turned to the Centre of Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (Cercia) at the University of Birmingham for state-of-the-art solutions to emerging business challenges. Two phases of a software project in financial planning and forecasting were completed in early 2003 and 2005, respectively. This software has been in use by Severn Trent Water since early 2003 and a major upgrade was completed in early 2005.