June 20, 2018
By Emily F. Keller
Data Science for Social Good Projects Begin

(Fellows Sean Andrew Chen, An Yan and Haowen Zheng participate in a Human-Centered Design workshop at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute)

Data Science for Social Good summer programs, which bring student fellows together with data scientists and project leads to tackle data science challenges with social impacts, have begun at the University of Washington (UW), the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Chicago (UC).

This year’s UBC projects focus on the relationship between neighborhood environments and educational outcomes for students in the City of Surrey; analyzing vehicle registration and commuting options to understand energy and emissions outputs in Surrey; creating a database and visualizations showing rental units and vacancy rates in Surrey; and using machine learning to classify laboratory and test results, working with the BC Centre for Disease Control.

At the University of Washington’s eScience Institute, this year’s projects consist of: 1. A team working with UW’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Department and Disaster Data Science Lab to improve situational awareness after hurricanes through the use of machine learning to automatically annotate damages on satellite imagery. 2. A project with the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop algorithms that assign scores for travel mode choice, affordability and reliability for trips to common destinations in Seattle from various points of origin. 3. A project with the Center on Reinventing Public Education that examines the relationship between access to out-of-school educational opportunities and student outcomes, utilizing data on graduation rates, test scores, student demographics and disciplinary actions. Fellow profiles are available here.

This summer’s UC projects in Chicago and Lisbon, Portugal focus on reducing tenant harassment in New York; examining school dropout rates and social programs in El Salvador; using video analysis to improve traffic safety in Indonesia; reducing recidivism rates for people with mental illness in Kansas; partnering with AllianceChicago to support diabetes screenings; and using data to improve workplace safety in Chile.