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The impactful results of our Data Science for Social Good program have been featured in a variety of news and media resources. Explore our media coverage:

2023 News

Mark Hallenbeck, who led the 2019 project, “Understanding Congestion Pricing, Travel Behavior, and Price Sensitivity,” made a presentation to the Washington State Transportation Commission that incorporated findings from his team’s work at the UW DSSG. The presentation, titled, “Toll Equity on [Washington State Department of Transportation] Toll Facilities,” was detailed in an article by The Center Square.

Affiliate Professor Jennie Romich from the UW School of Social Work and the Center for Studies in Ecology & Demography (CSDE) reported on an effort to establish a new statewide data repository at the University of Washington – Washpop – for population and policy research on topics including, criminal justice and safety, economic prosperity and equity, and health and social well-being. This work builds on projects Dr. Romich led in the UW DSSG program using the Washington Merged Administrative Longitudinal Administrative Data (WMLAD): “Geography, Equity, and the Seattle $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance” and “Tracking family and intergenerational poverty using administrative data.”

2022 News

Three fellows from the team, “Heating Loads in Alaska and Beyond” made presentations at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, which took place virtually in December 2022. Fellow Philippe Schicker presented “Environmental Justice Considerations for Remote Sensing Approaches: Calculating Heating Loads in Alaska through Geospatial and Machine Learning Techniques.” This presentation was part of the SY44C: Critical Remote Sensing I Online Poster Discussion session. Fellow Shamsi Soltani presented “A Novel Geospatial-First Machine Learning Approach to Modeling Heating Loads in Alaska: When Perfect (Data) are the Enemy of Good (Data).” This presentation was part of the GH23B: Statistical Methods, Machine Learning, and Big Data in Geohealth II Oral session. Fellow Vidisha Chowdhury made the presentation: “Informing Decarbonization through Machine Learning (ML): A Geospatial ML Pipeline for Estimating Heating Loads.” This poster presentation was part of the “Addressing environmental challenges and sustainable development through Earth science applications utilizing Machine Learning” session. In addition, Fellow Madelyn Gaumer made the presentation: “Estimating Heating Loads in Alaska using Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Methods” at the Neural Information Process Systems (NeurIPS) conference in December 2022. This virtual poster presentation was part of the Workshop: Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning.

UW DSSG alumni from multiple teams presented their work and hosted panels at the Learning & Doing Data for Good (LDDG) conference, a hybrid event held at the University of Washington from Sept. 9-11, 2022. The conference was attended by current students and alumni in university-based data for good programs, their project partners, and data science professionals. The eScience Institute co-hosted the conference with the West Big Data Innovation Hub, the Academic Data Science Alliance, and the University of British Columbia’s Data Science Institute.

Juandalyn Burke, LDDG Conference Director and a 2020 UW DSSG Fellow. Photo credit: Louisa Gaylord, eScience Institute.

The 2022 UW DSSG projects were featured in the UW Data Science Seminar series, with groups from each team participating in a Q&A session following videos of their final presentations. The teams “Heating Loads in Alaska and Beyond,” and “Satellite Streaks in Astronomical Images” were featured on October 11, 2022; and the “Exploring new understandings of the cost of living at a basic needs level using the Self-Sufficiency Standard database” and “Tracking family and intergenerational poverty using administrative data” teams were featured on October 25, 2022.

2021 News

King County Metro and MV Transportation were awarded a METRO Innovative Solutions Award for CommonPaths, a new multi-tenant GIS recording and reconciliation system to collect, process, and distribute high-fidelity pathway information for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, in a standardized and computable format. The platform was built in partnership with the UW Taskar Center for Accessible Computing Technology and its OpenSidewalks project, which was initially developed in the 2016 DSSG program.

2020 DSSG project to improve the detection of vote dilution, which contributed to the re-drawing of school board districts in East Ramapo, New York, has resulted in electoral changes in a 2021 special election of school board trustees. A federal appeals courthas also upheld the initial ruling of voting rights violations that led to the redistricting effort. The case was featured in The Wall Street Journal.

2020 News

The research from one of the DSSG 2020 groups was used in a federal court ruling on the East Ramapo Central School District and voting district equity in Southern New York. In a case brought against the district by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the team’s research helped confirm that the district’s white majority had controlled the outcome of the school board elections for every seat on the board for well over a decade.

ACLU Washington published the Algorithmic Equity Toolkit, which was planned and co-designed as a project in the 2019 DSSG program. The Algorithmic Equity Toolkit, or ‘AEKit,’ is a set of resources designed to help people better identify government surveillance and automated decision-making technologies. Program participants are among the key contributors listed on the ACLU-WA website.

The ADUniverse project conducted in summer 2019 was featured in Architect Magazine, which awarded the project a 2020 R+D Award. The tool developed by the DSSG team, in collaboration with the City of Seattle, promotes the development of accessory dwelling units to increase housing access. In September 2020, the City launched a website featuring the tool, which appeared in The Urbanist.

2019 News

One of the 2019 Data Science for Social Good team’s research on traffic congestion pricing is highlighted in a segment of TVW’s “Washington to Washington” program (segment starts at minute 23). Project lead Mark Hallenbeck is interviewed.

Research from the 2018 project “Access to out-of-school opportunities and student outcomes” is referenced in the Brookings blog “How a proposal for flexible funding can help families close the enrichment gap“, the Business Wire article, “New Research and Blueprint4SummerCO Fuel ReSchool’s Efforts to Address Disparities in Summer Learning for Denver Metro-Area Youth,” and a 2020 Denverite article “Denver parents are losing their minds over summer camp right now“.

Members of a 2016 Data Science for Social Good team, including senior data scientist Valentina Staneva, data scientist Joseph Hellerstein, project lead Elaine Nsoesie, and fellows Michael Munsell, Miki Verma, Cynthia Vint, and others, have a new paper published in JAMIA Open titled “Detecting reports of unsafe foods in consumer product reviews.”

2018 News 

Travis Pillow and DSSG project lead Sivan Tuchman of UW’s Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) wrote, “The Enrichment Gap: The Educational Inequity That Nobody Talks About,” published on CRPE’s blog, The Lens. The article was re-posted by The 74 with the title, “Tuchman & Pillow: Out-of-School Enrichment Is Critical to Student Success. We Must Close the Access Gap for Black and Latino Kids.” The article is based on a 2018 project examining access to out-of-school resources, conducted in partnership with the Denver-based nonprofit ReSchool Colorado.

2017 News 

The 2017 DSSG project, “Can traffic sensor data detect vehicle cruising?” conducted in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation, was featured in the King 5 News article, “One-third of Seattle drivers ‘cruising’ for parking, rides, study finds,”and the Microsoft blog, “Students ‘create something really incredible’ in broader aim to help two cross-border cities thrive together.”

GeekWire published the article, “Can Seattle avoid Bay Area problems? Researchers using data to predict how neighborhoods will evolve,” about the 2017 DSSG project, “The ‘Equity Modeler’: examining just development in Seattle.”

The DSSG program was featured in a YouTube video about the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, a partnership between the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.

King 5 News interviews some of the 2017 Data Science for Social Good fellows. Photo credit: Micaela Parker, eScience Institute

2016 News 

The Seattle Times article, “UW student project taps ORCA cards, unlocks data trove,” chronicled the DSSG project, “Use of ORCA data for improved transit system planning and operation,” which was based on nine weeks of data collected from nine regional transit systems via pre-paid cards.

The GeekWire article, “Could data help solve Seattle’s transportation challenges?” highlighted the project, “Global Open Sidewalks: Creating a shared open data layer and an OpenStreetMap data standard for sidewalks,” along with the ORCA data project.

The project, “Mining Online Data for Early Identification of Unsafe Food Products,” was featured in the GeekWire article, “Could Amazon reviews keep you from getting sick? Researchers analyze text to predict food recalls,” and the Food Safety News article, “Project explores whether data-mining can predict food recalls.”

The TechCrunch article, “Student projects leapfrog governments and industry in ‘Data Science for Social Good’ program,” covered final presentations by the four DSSG teams in August 2016.