On November 20th, representatives of those fields gathered onstage for Chicago: City of Big Data, a UChicago Discovery Series panel discussion of research and educational efforts focused on transforming cities through data and computation. In a vibrant 90-minute conversation moderated by Charlie Catlett, director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), the panelists described work underway at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and outlined their visions for the future of data-driven urban design and governance.
Will the cities of tomorrow be built on a foundation of data and computation? Among the CI-related events at the 2013 University of Chicago Alumni Weekend was a panel discussing the growing role of data-driven urban policy, featuring Urban Center for Computation and Data director Charlie Catlett, Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy Colm O’Muircheartaigh and Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor Stephen W. Raudenbush.
This summer, the Computation Institute and the Urban Center for Computation and Data will further nurture efforts to use data science to give back to the community with The Eric and Wendy Schmidt 'Data Science for Social Good' Summer Fellowship. From early June to late August, aspiring data scientists will congregate in Chicago to work on the application of data and computation to urgent real-world problems with members of the Obama campaign analytics team and experts from the business world and academia, including the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Projects addressing questions in education, health, energy, transportation and other spheres will be developed in interdisciplinary teams overseen by advisors including Google's Eric Schmidt and Rayid Ghani, chief scientist for Obama 2012.
Cities draw their strength from community and diversity, when people from different backgrounds work together in close proximity on big problems. So to unleash the potential of city data, it only makes sense to replicate that mixing bowl effect in the context of research. To formally kick off the new Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network (USRCN), 80 experts representing a broad range of disciplinary knowledge met in downtown Chicago to forge new connections and grand ideas for projects that harness data for the benefit of the modern city.
Now is the perfect time for computational scientists to get involved with designing and building better cities, and that was the topic of a panel at the eScience 2012 meeting moderated by UrbanCCD director Charlie Catlett. With representatives from IBM and Chicago City Hall and a co-founder of EveryBlock, the panel brought together experts who have already started digging into city data to talk about both the potential and the precautions inherent within.