FICO Data Scientist in the team honored for his work on optimizing access to drinking water

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A team of four researchers, including FICO’s Selene Silvestri, received the SEIO-BBVA award for best applied contribution to operational research. The team was rewarded for its article on optimizing access to drinking water in remote areas of Nepal. The Spanish Society of Statistics and Operational Research (SEIO) and the BBVA Foundation award these annual prizes for particularly important scientific contributions in statistics and operational research.

More information:

Gilbert Laporte, Marie-Ève ​​​​Rancourt, Jessica Rodríguez-Pereira and Selene Silvestri won the SEIO-BBVA prize for the best applied contribution in operational research, for an article published in the April 2022 edition of the journal Computer Science and Operations Research. They presented the design of a water distribution network with an example of application in Nepal, which experienced problems with the supply of drinking water following the earthquakes of 2015.

“It’s an ideal problem for mathematical optimization because it involves clear goals, a set of constraints, and a massive amount of data,” said Selene Silvestri, who helps FICO partners and their clients around the world take advantage of FICO optimization tools. “There are millions of possible solutions to this problem, and through optimization we are able to analyze them and identify the most effective ones.”

To solve the problem, the team looked at the location of the water taps to ensure good coverage of the population and the connection of these taps to the sources of drinking water through a network of pipes.

“Access to clean water is a global priority,” Silvestri said. “Our team chose to tackle it because it is highly relevant to how remote communities rebuild and restore access after a disaster such as the earthquake in Nepal. The work we have done to solve the complex structure of the water network can also benefit other regions.

The annual SEIO-BBVA awards recognize originality, innovation and contributions in statistics and operational research, with the dual purpose of encouraging research work in these two fields and their projection in society.

“Selene and her teammates, all associated with HEC Montreal, have done extensive research on a potentially life-threatening issue,” said Matt Cox, Head of FICO Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Their work demonstrates the incredible power of mathematical optimization, also known as prescriptive analytics, and operations research. Congratulations to the team for their work and their reward!

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers the decisions that help people and businesses around the world thrive. Founded in 1956, the company pioneers the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds 205 U.S. and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and business growth in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, retail and many other industries. With FICO solutions, businesses in more than 120 countries are doing everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of planes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

Learn more at

FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Sean N. Ayres