Mathematics is everywhere. It is applied in almost every sector, from the medical to the industrial sector. Big Data and Smart Data are key concepts of the modern industry, where they are used to monitor performances and make processes more effective. But what would happen if mathematical models and algorithms were applied to the world of sport? This is what Math&Sport is doing.
Mission: Optimize Performance
Sport is a complex phenomenon and affected by multiple variables: applying mathematics in this sector can make the difference, precisely because it is ideal for investigating such complex phenomena. In today’s society an enormous amount of data (Big Data) is often generated, often at low cost. It is therefore easy to access it. The real challenge is to understand that these data are a wealth and a value if you have the skills and tools to extract the right information from them. Sport is THE sector in which competition and performance optimization are considered primary objectives. Algorithms help to extract from data the ‘intelligent’ information, which helps to optimize the complex phenomena that are being analyzed. Thanks to mathematics applied to sport, it is possible to have meaningful data and information when and where they are needed, marking the passage from Big Data to Smart Data. This ‘intelligent data’ derived from mathematics leads to achieving the fundamental objective for sportsmen: performance optimization. This is what Math & Sport, an innovative startup founded in 2016 and incubated by PoliHub, does every day. Inspirer and promoter is the mathematician Alfio Quarteroni, who for years has been involved in the application of mathematical models in various fields, including sports. Math&Sport was born with the aim of applying advanced mathematical models and machine learning algorithms to sport. Ing. Ottavio Crivaro is the founder and CEO of the company, and he brought with him all his experience in complex computational and big data projects. The mission of Math&Sport is clear: we want to optimize performance, supporting athletes and coaches in their game strategy and in perfect the gesture through advanced Artificial Intelligence algorithms.
Gesture and Strategy Optimization
Gesture optimization is fundamental for Math&Sport, as it allows athletes to maximize the individual talent. Thanks to data science and sophisticated Artificial Intelligence algorithms, it is possible to identify all the details of a specific athlete’s movement, study the patterns and weak points, and suggest improvements. Algorithms and mathematical models help also in the definition of team’s strategy: coaches have extra smart information at their fingertips, helping them to understand which tactics to follow. Volleyball, golf, tennis, soccer but also athletics and archery: Math&Sport supports athletes and coaches in individual and team sports on their way to achieving the dream.
The Big Names in Sport
Math&Sport has active partnerships with big names in sport: Andrea Giani, volleyball player and coach, has chosen the use Math&Sport’s products since he led Slovenia to the silver medal at the European Championship in 2015; Davide Mazzanti, Technical Commissioner of the Italian women’s national volleyball team, winner of the silver medal at the last 2018 World Cup; Mauro Berruto, currently Technical Director of the Italian Archery Federation; but the team is also working with CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) and technicians of the Coverciano Federal Technical Center, teaching at the Match Analysts course organized every year.
In Search of the Causes
Math&Sport approaches each project in an innovative way, and this makes it a unique. This approach focuses on calculating from a set of observations the causal factors that produced them . In mathematics it is called ‘Inverse problem’. Today each team can collect an enormous amount of data, but they are limited to describing the events, without looking for the causes. The challenge of Math&Sport is to look into this data for triggers of the final event. This is exactly where the ‘intelligent’ information is extracted: Smart Data sits on the bench together with technical staff and athletes to improve individual strategies and performances. The combination of mathematical modeling, scientific calculation and machine learning allows the transformation of Big Data into Smart Data to enhance the talents of athletes and coaches. The new challenges? Soccer in 5G and support athletes and coaches for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!