news | 31.08.2014 |

Chicago Big Data and Urban Informatics Workshop 2014

The Big Data and Urban Informatics Workshop sponsored by the NSF was a great success! 68 papers were presented following the Call for Papers we issued earlier this year and there were about 160 attendees at the two-day event. Participants came together from the USA, UK, Italy, China, Japan, Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, Greece, Canada, Israel and Australia to share cutting edge projects, technologies and ideas.

Although there were occasional grey skies outside, inside the UIC Forum there was a lot of enthusiasm regarding the discussions. There was a range of contributions, with a big focus on transportation, urban design, uses of sensors and social media data, as well as democratisation of data.

Presenters came from a diverse range of backgrounds such as urban planning, geography, economics and computer science. In my opening plenary presentation, I focused on the reasons why big data provides special opportunities for urban informatics and knowledge discovery in cities and presented some examples on urban informatics. Keynote presenter Carlo Ratti (MIT) showed amazing visuals of the real-time city while our other keynote speaker, Paul Waddell (UC Berkeley) described analytics using the open source urban simulation system UrbanSim. I was also very pleased that the workshop attracted a large number of PhD students and junior faculty.

Jeremy Wu, former Project Director of the Longitudinal Household Employment Dynamics program in the US Census Bureau wrote a fantastic review of the conference, which you can read.

We particularly loved hearing the interest in our Urban Big Data Centre. People were excited to hear about what we are planning to deliver with our ESRC funding in this rapidly burgeoning field, and we will be sure to keep in touch with everyone and update you on our progress.

A huge thank you to everyone who was involved in the Big Data and Informatics Workshop 2014. I am very thankful to workshop co-chairs, Nebiyou Tilahun and Moira Zellner, and to our amazing workshop planner/organizer, Nina Savar. Also many thanks to Professor Mitra Dutta, Vice Chancellor for Research, UIC, and Dr Curt Winkle, Head of the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, for welcoming the workshop attendees.

We have received positive feedback from participants and there was a strong desire to keep the discussions going and to develop ongoing events. We look forward to helping in building up the momentum!

Please watch this space and if you are interested in future events by our Centre please sign up for our email newsletter or contact us.

Images from the 2014 Chicago Big Data and Urban Informatics Workshop

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