31
Dec
2013

A month-by-month recap of Computation Institute research, announcements, and events in 2013.

Happy New Year!
 

23
Dec
2013

In high school, the computer lab and the machine shop may have attracted very different crowds. But the rise of the modern makerspace has combined those two worlds, offering programmers new opportunities for hands-on work while workbench tinkerers experiment with coding software.

The Hack Arts Lab (HAL) -- a new open makerspace located in the Computation Institute’s UChicago offices -- is home to 3D printers, laser etchers and other new tools for exploring the intersection of computer science and art. This fall, twenty UChicago undergraduates tested the limits of those machines in the University of Chicago’s first-ever Digital Fabrication course, taught by CI Director Ian Foster and CI Senior Fellow Rick Stevens.

18
Dec
2013

The United States keeps a list of international travelers considered a grave threat against the health and security of the country. But this list isn’t about terrorism (at least not explicitly), it’s about microbiology.

17
Dec
2013

While some people still consider social media to be a time-wasting fad, many scientists have started using these services as massive databases, growing every day by millions of new entries from people around the world. These projects have used the platform for predicting stock markets, box office receipts, and reality show results, but DSSG fellows Zahra Ashktorab, Christopher Brown, Manojit Nandi and mentor Aron Culotta worked with the Qatar Computational Research Institute to enlist tweets for a more noble goal: assistance during disasters and emergencies.

11
Dec
2013

The annual re:Invent conference put on by Amazon Web Services (AWS) gathers people using cloud computing for businesses and information technology. At this year's conference, held in November in Las Vegas, Ian Foster and Ravi Madduri of the Computation Institute presented their vision for expanding the cloud to another domain: scientific research.

09
Dec
2013

Data Science for Social Good Fellows Allen Lin, Samrachana Adhikari, and Sriram Somanchi and mentor Elena Eneva worked with NorthShore University HealthSystem, a Chicago-area hospital network that was among the first in the nation to implement an electronic medical record (EMR) system. In one of a handful of projects using NorthShore's EMR database, the DSSG team looked at the data from growth charts -- a common, simple tool pediatricians use to monitor a child's changes in height and weight. With deidentified data from over 23,000 children, the fellows studied whether particular changes can act as an alarm bell to physicians that a child is on a trajectory toward obesity, offering an opportunity for early intervention.

05
Dec
2013

Politicians do a lot of talking; some might even consider it to be their primary talent. Between campaign events, floor speeches, press releases, television appearances and newsletters, politicians leave behind a mountain of words that can rival datasets from genomics and physics. So it’s no surprise that political scientists are increasingly turning to computational methods to find insight within this big political data. In Justin Grimmer’s talk at the CI on December 4th, he demonstrated how the words politicians use reveal the roles they’ve chosen to play -- and how those roles deepen the polarization seen in Washington DC today.