University of Brighton partners with Crimtan to develop AI tools

05 Aug, 2012

Academics to develop new technologies.

Leading academics at the University of Brighton will be applying their expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), advanced mathematics and computer modelling techniques to develop new systems for Crimtan, the digital advertising services company. The primary focus of the academics’ work will be enabling brands to benefit from AI and advanced mathematics research via a new Crimtan portfolio of real-time, cluster-targeting advertising systems that protect user privacy. Derived from Crimtan’s statistical data and human capital, the emergent advertising technologies will automate online advertising processes and decision-making by mirroring human expertise and experience. At a basic level, the technologies will make radically more intelligent and vastly accelerated decisions, such as which specific creative from a brand’s campaign should be displayed to a particular user, in which format and when.

Working via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – recently approved by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board – a recent top tier graduate will help Crimtan to develop and implement new technologies. The project – which has a value of £125,372 – will be led by Professor Miltos Petridis and supervised by Dr Roger Evans, both from the University of Brighton’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics. The graduate, supported by the academic team, will be tasked with using innovative data mining and modelling techniques to develop the new targeting and ad display systems.

Using computational engineering and artificial intelligence, the new technologies will foster Crimtan’s commitment to responsible, highly effective advertising. The AI techniques will replicate the human intelligence used in online advertising. Crimtan’s data, the company’s online advertising experts’ experience and computer modelling techniques will all be used by the graduate (known as a KTP Associate)  to enable machines to make the decisions humans would make when faced with new situations.

Of particular note is the use of negative modelling techniques. At present online ad campaign decision-making is primarily governed by user actions, such as clicks, online purchases, hover-overs and the like. To date, the value of inactions has not been effectively incorporated into online ad systems. Negative modelling techniques will help to define decision-making rules based on inactions, non-occurrences and non-events. At a basic level, this relates to data regarding users not clicking on an ad, not purchasing after entering an online store, or not hovering over an expandable rich media advert. The resultant new systems will limit wasted ad displays, potentially giving new relevance to impression-based online advertising metrics, such as CPM – the cost, per 1000 people reached, of buying online advertising space.

Dr Evans said:

Forward thinking companies like Crimtan are looking to technological innovation to improve responsible online advertising. In particular this partnership will be investigating how AI can be used in online marketing targeting systems using negative and lookalike profiling as well as other innovative techniques.

Advanced mathematics has helped the Internet to evolve into what it is today but there’s a great deal of room for improvement. We will be using advanced mathematics to define logical rules that underlie both predictable and surprising behaviour of Internet users, brands and online advertising experts. The University of Brighton’s partnership with Crimtan will help to break new technological boundaries for the digital marketing industry. These technologies will offer vastly improved services for innovative advertisers, while enriching the online experience for Internet users.

Paul Goad, CEO of Crimtan said:

The digital advertising industry is increasingly driven by data, and regulation is growing increasingly severe. Digital marketing needs to evolve and use new techniques and technologies to adapt to customer concerns. These new technologies are inspired by our commitment to the most effective and responsible online marketing. Crimtan sees this KTP as a further step that will enhance the ongoing efforts of its large development team to keep the company at the cutting edge of this extremely fast paced industry. The University of Brighton’s world class expertise will help Crimtan to develop the kind of technology that will enable the digital marketing industry to innovate, evolve and improve.

Over the course of an intensive two year programme the KTP Associate will work with Crimtan and the expert academics at The University of Brighton to develop, test and implement the range of new technologies.

Professor Petridis said:

Having been involved with KTPs before joining the University of Brighton, I know that they are a great vehicle for working with companies and feeding that experience back into teaching and research. I have also witnessed the catalytic-transformational effect a KTP project can have on companies like Crimtan – their growth, business portfolio and confidence. We are looking forward to the opportunity to apply our expertise in data mining and modelling in Crimtan’s highly sophisticated, large-scale, real-time web delivery environment.