Havens is finalist in Telus contest

Oct 03, 2002, vol. 25, no. 3

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SFU computing science professor Bill Havens and his SFU spin-off company Constraint Works Inc., are finalists in one of North America's largest technology business idea competitions, the TELUS New Ventures B.C. competition.

Havens' business idea is based on a new software engine he developed in SFU's intelligent systems computing lab.

The software, which he calls a reasoning engine, lets users solve complex online scheduling, planning and logistics problems as easily as they might use spreadsheets.

Unlike other software available on the market, Havens' ReSolver program allows users to change their scheduling on the fly, a handy characteristic for many industry operations, including aircraft maintenance scheduling or transport delivery routing and scheduling.

“We focus on technology for dynamic scheduling,” explains Havens, “where the problem changes or users' requirements change.” A good example, he says, is a short-haul trucking firm that constantly needs to allocate and re-allocate delivery routes as the phone keeps ringing with new business. “Our product could help minimize their costs and satisfy their delivery constraints,” he says.

Havens entered the competition because, he says, “It's the best opportunity in B.C. for taking a fledgling start-up company from a concept to a viable business plan.”

A competition winner will be announced Oct. 10. Until then, Havens must finalize his business plan and prepare for a knee-knocking presentation before a competition judging panel of venture capitalists and business analysts.

Airgames Wireless Inc., a wireless business founded by a team of SFU engineering students, won last year's inaugural competition.

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