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EverLearn in Action

Artificial intelligence

Last summer, Brendan Pousett, a technology developer at Genesis Robotics in Canada, reached out to Earl Carlisle and Vamshi Mugala, two of his counterparts at INVISTA in Wichita, with questions about machine learning and artificial intelligence. Pousett, who found the data scientists via EverLearn, wanted to know if AI was expensive, resulted in a lot of redundancies and if the “learnings” were tough to interpret — especially regarding predicting performance.

The INVISTA team's responses went beyond answering the questions of the Genesis team. “Talking to INVISTA on EverLearn helped us understand not only the best solution to our problem but to refine the scope of our project and connect with other subject matter experts around KES,” Pousett said. “This helped us avoid re-inventing the wheel so we could focus on applying existing data analysis infrastructure to our specific application.”

Pour it on

Most of us think of hydrogen peroxide as a common antiseptic or bleach and use it without thinking very much about where it comes from or how it’s made.

Earlier this summer, INVISTA’s R&D team was investigating other uses for this common chemical as well as the factors affecting its pricing. As they did their research, they began wondering if anyone else at Koch had better knowledge or had ever thought about innovating ways of making the chemical.

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Sure enough, EverLearn helped Kelly Carvalho, an associate in INVISTA’s strategy and business development group, find not one but a group of experts on hydrogen peroxide at Georgia-Pacific. (GP has long used hydrogen peroxide as an oxidant to bleach the fibers going into tissue and other paper products.) Andy Balliet, a research associate, and Jeff Lee, a senior engineer and research fellow, were among those at GP who provided INVISTA with important context regarding the market for hydrogen peroxide, its pricing factors and the history of its development and uses.

Once this connection between GP and INVISTA was established, the conversation evolved into a discussion of whether hydrogen peroxide could be electrochemically created (a process that involves running electrical current through a solution or substance). As it turns out, less than two months earlier, a GP team from across the U.S. had been discussing the same concept. The answer was “yes.”

“It’s amazing to think how quickly our two companies were able to connect and share knowledge on this issue,” said Balliet. “We’ve got people here who have been working at GP for more than 30 years and they tell me they are absolutely blown away by how much easier it is to make connections now.”

To buy, or not to buy?

Valuable perspective can be found using EverLearn. 

Last year, Koch Disruptive Technologies was given the opportunity to invest in an artificial intelligence application developed for mining (as in gold mining, not data mining). “KDT receives a lot of different ideas every day,” explained Natalie Gibson, who moved from KDT to Infor earlier this year. “A lot of those ideas are way outside our area of knowledge. This particular deal was certainly in that category.” 

All it took was a quick keyword search — “I think I used ‘Artificial Intelligence mining,’” Gibson said — for her to discover Junda Zhu at John Zink Hamworthy Combustion. Zhu used to be the leading AI scientist at the largest gold mining company in the world. 

“I reached out and asked him if he would help us assess this company and he said he would.” After about 30 minutes together on a Teams call, it became clear KDT should pass on this investment. “Altogether, start to finish, I spent maybe an hour on something that, in the past, might have taken us days,” Gibson said.

Just as interesting is the fact Junda Zhu wasn’t the only mining expert listed on EverLearn. Antonio Papes, director of specialty sales for Koch Fertilizer in Brazil, has six years of experience in mining processes such as beneficiation of iron, phosphate and potash ores. 

Easy access to experts like these allows Koch businesses and capabilities to make much more informed decisions in a shorter amount of time while helping avoid the expense that comes with hiring expert analysts from outside the company.