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Connecting the Dots for Better Outcomes

By | March 10th, 2017|Categories: Blog Post|

  The most vulnerable individuals in society often struggle with long-lasting, multi-faceted challenges such as mental illness, substance abuse, chronic health conditions, and homelessness. Individuals experiencing these difficulties tend to interact with public services and [...]

Data Science for Social Good Fellowship Update

By | February 17th, 2017|Categories: Blog Post|

We wanted to share an update with you from the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship team. Based on the funding situation and other projects that we’re launching and continuing, we have decided not to [...]

Preventive Care for the City’s Circulatory System

By | January 23rd, 2017|Categories: Blog Post|Tags: , , , |

Around the world, cities are showing signs of old age. For urban areas, one of the first signs of advancing years comes in its circulatory system -- the water infrastructure -- as pipes laid underground [...]

Police Project Update: Expanding and Implementing the Early Intervention System

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: Blog Post|

In recent years, the issue of police violence and misconduct has repeatedly made headlines and inspired protests across the United States. With each incident, the trust between police departments and the communities they protect takes [...]

Scoping Data Science (for Social Good) Projects

By | October 27th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

Resources in this post:  Blank Project Scoping Worksheet and a filled out Project Scoping Worksheet . Over the past several years, the University of Chicago Center for Data Science and Public Policy and the Data Science for Social [...]

The Real World: DSSG

By | August 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

This is the true story of 42 strangers picked to live in a dorm, work together, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. [...]

Sanergy: Smart scheduling to improve toilet collections in Kenya

By | August 10th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

Every year, some 1 million people die because they do not have access to hygienic sanitation. Among other problems, poor sanitation causes diarrhoea, which is the second largest cause of death worldwide for children under [...]

MVESC: Finding the Missing Students Who Don’t Graduate On Time

By | August 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Over 1.2 million or 7.1% high school students drop out every year. Dropping out of high school is costly for both the students and society: 30% of dropouts are unemployed, their average annual income is [...]

CMPD: Behind the Headlines, Beneath the Data

By | August 3rd, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

It's usual for those of us here at Data Science for Social Good to want to see our projects thrown into the spotlight. More publicity means a wider audience, which means a greater impact (or [...]

Tulsa Public Schools: Preparing Kids for the Third Grade Turning Point

By | July 19th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

Third grade is a turning point in learning, where students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Thus, many education systems now focus on early literacy. There’s a lot of work to do: [...]

2016 Police Projects: Back to the Whiteboards

By | July 12th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

A crucial but often overlooked consideration when working with data is: what is the best way to organise it? The way we organise our data can change not only how we interact with it, but [...]

DSSG 2016 Week One: Convergence and Priorities

By | June 7th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post, Curriculum|

Data Science for Social Good is now four years old. If we were a toddler, we’d be learning our alphabet and arithmetic. If we were a high school student, we’d be getting ready to graduate [...]

Introducing the Data Maturity Framework

By | April 28th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

In our four years of running the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship and the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, we have talked to hundreds of organizations about their data, technology, missions, culture, [...]

You say you want Transparency and Interpretability?

By | April 27th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

We keep hearing and saying that in order to implement and correctly use machine learning and predictive models , they must be transparent and interpretable. That makes sense. You don't want a black box model [...]

Data Science For Social Good 2016 Applicants

By | February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Blog Post|

Fellow applications for the 2016 Summer Fellowship are all in and we have been busy reviewing the 900 we received! As we go through the very high (virtual) stack of applications, resumes, and recommendation letters (with the [...]

Announcing Diogenes: all the Machine Learning code you’ll never have to write

By | January 5th, 2016|Categories: Blog Post, Technical|

At the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, we work on problems across different policy areas and develop machine learning (ML) solutions that span all these area , from education to public health to government [...]

The Greatest Technical Challenge of Our Day… Reading CSVs

By | December 31st, 2015|Categories: Blog Post, Technical|

Many data science projects follow the following workflow Define problem Get data Analyze the data (that may include building predictive models) Report the results of the analysis. Implement results into an operational system The move from [...]

2016 Applications are now open!

By | December 10th, 2015|Categories: News, Blog Post|

We're excited and happy to start the application process for 2016. Applications are now open for Fellows, Mentors, Project Managers, and Project Partner Organizations. We expect to take [...]

What Makes a Good DSSG Project?

By | November 4th, 2015|Categories: News, Blog Post|

Apply to be a Project Partner for 2017 Data Science for Social Good is a summer program that requires year-round preparation. A successful summer requires a mix of good people and projects, and we [...]

Reducing Adverse Police Interactions

By | October 27th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Over the past year, the nation has faced a series of highly publicized adverse interactions between the police and the public, from Ferguson to Baltimore to New York. These incidents have had dire and occasionally [...]

EPA: Data-Driven Hazardous Waste Detection

By | October 16th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

What’s the problem? Hundreds of millions of tons of hazardous waste are generated every year. When this waste isn’t handled properly, the results can be disastrous. Chemical spills and explosions pose a serious threat to [...]

Our Knight News Challenge Submissions

By | October 15th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, News, Blog Post|

This year’s Knight News Challenge asks, “How might we make data work for individuals and communities?” Data Science for Social Good and its parent organization, the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, pursue answers [...]

College Persistence: Helping Students Beyond High School Graduation

By | September 22nd, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

A college education is one of the keys to economic security and prosperity in the United States. Bachelor’s degree holders earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates, enjoy better health and hold jobs [...]

An Ethical Checklist for Data Science

By | September 18th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

As data scientists, we often get lost in the techniques and methods of our trade. In doing so, we can forget to ask important questions: who will be affected by our work? How we are [...]

Blight Prevention: Building Strong and Healthy Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

By | August 20th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Many cities are working to prevent the negative impacts of vacant buildings caused by population loss. Cincinnati is one such city, with a more than 40% reduction in population since 1950 and a large stock [...]

World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency Project: Kickstarting Data Science

By | August 17th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Are you hearing a lot of data-themed buzzwords lately? Are you wondering whether the use of data science can help a project on which you are working? Using data makes it easy to prove the [...]

Infonavit Project: Reducing Home Abandonment

By | August 13th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Zumpango is a municipality of roughly 500,000 residents 50 kilometers from Mexico City, what might be considered an “exurb” in the United States. Though settlements have existed in the region as far back as 200 [...]

Police Project: Lessons From Charlotte

By | July 29th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Police departments around the country have been in the spotlight recently because of several controversial, high-profile incidents. Tragic events in Ferguson, New York City, Baltimore, and elsewhere have highlighted the need for police departments to [...]

Sunlight Project: Text Re-Use in Scott Walker’s Abortion Bill

By | July 23rd, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

On Monday, Wisconsin governor and 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker signed into law a bill banning non-emergency abortions past the 19th week of pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, Walker's move garnered support from one side, derision from the [...]

Australian Conservation Foundation Project: Engage and Protect

By | July 22nd, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Last year, in a move opposed by over 90% of Australian citizens, the Australian government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott formally requested the de-listing of the Tasmanian Wilderness as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The [...]

IDHS Project: Better Birth Outcomes

By | July 17th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

An adverse birth can have devastating personal, financial, and even developmental consequences for both mother and child. Individuals born at shorter gestation and lower weight than average have increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. [...]

Sunlight Project: Finding Legislative Plagiarism

By | July 9th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

In 2005, Florida implemented a new "Stand Your Ground" law, which legally protected the use of deadly force in self-defense. The law, which removes the "duty to retreat" when a person is threatened with serious [...]

Skilled Data Scientists Tackle Health, Education, Policy Challenges

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Reducing infant mortality, improving graduation rates for high school and first-generation college students, preventing home abandonment, and identifying legislative plagiarism are just some of the project goals for the 2015 Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data [...]

DSSG Team Finishes 2nd at Civic Hacking Event

By | June 11th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Every year, the National Day of Civic Hacking unites people across the country for hackathons, meetups, and other events centered around a common goal: using technology to improve communities and government. This year, Chicago celebrated [...]

2015 Fellow Profiles: Elissa Redmiles & Esha Maharishi

By | May 25th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Data Science for Social Good is organized around projects, fixed-length efforts designed to produce a practical solution or product at the end of the summer. For many academics, used to open-ended research that typically makes [...]

2015 Fellow Profiles: Amy Hepner & Kerstin Frailey

By | May 20th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

From the beginning, education has been one of the primary focus areas of Data Science for Social Good. In 2013, we helped Mesa Public Schools detect and address “under-matching,” when a graduating student applies to [...]

2015 Fellow Profiles: Ryan Kappedal and Talia Kaufmann

By | May 15th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Building a data science for social good community means welcoming in people from all stages of their education and career. Training undergraduates and grad students at the onset of their life in the workforce offers [...]

2015 Fellow Profiles: Eduardo Blancas Reyes & Eugenia Giraudy

By | May 12th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Data science is an increasingly global pursuit. During the first two years of Data Science for Social Good, we’ve welcomed fellows from Canada, Mexico, Israel, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, India, and China, and received [...]

Announcing the 2015 DSSG Fellows

By | April 17th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Data can make a difference in the world. With the right people, tools, and partnerships, non-profits and governments can use data to save lives, educate more children, reduce poverty and protect the Earth. But to [...]

Import: Safe Hallways, Successful Tests

By | March 20th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Import is a new series of guest posts from friends, colleagues, and collaborators in the data science for social good community. This post is by Ben Wellington, who writes the open data blog I Quant [...]

Data Science For Social Good 2015 Applicants: Chapter 1

By | February 6th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Fellow applications just closed for the 2015 Summer Fellowship and we were excited to see almost 800 people apply! As we review these (inspiring) applications and make (extremely difficult) decisions, we'll spend the next few [...]

Data Science For Social Good 2014 Videos: Chapter 3

By | January 13th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] The third video from our 2014 fellowship showcases the broad array of projects that DSSG fellows tackled last summer, ranging from public health, social services, and education to [...]

Keep In Touch: Robust Retention Strategies for Health Leads

By | December 15th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” - Mahatma Gandhi The Affordable Care Act enacted broad reforms across the United States’ healthcare system. But while the healthcare landscape [...]

Maternal Mortality in Mexico: Distilling Data into Policy Strategies

By | December 10th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] Previously, we wrote about the problem facing Mexico and many other countries: maternal mortality. In 2000, Mexico joined many other UN countries in committing to reduce maternal mortality, making it [...]

Using Data for a More Transparent Government

By | December 4th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” -- Alexis de Tocqueville Why Are Earmarks [...]

Data Science For Social Good 2014 Videos: Chapter 2

By | November 24th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] In the second installment of our DSSG 2014 videos, we focus on the team that worked last summer with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Fellows Joe Brew, [...]

Early Warning Systems for Struggling Students

By | November 20th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] In our previous post, we described the challenge faced by our partners at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). We analyzed a sample of about 11,000 MCPS students to determine if [...]

DSSG Reflections: A ‘Summer Camp’ With Impact

By | November 14th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] The Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship (DSSG) is like summer camp for adults. Summer camp like the youth programs where you met interesting people, came together to devote [...]

Easing the Distress of Neighborhoods with Data

By | November 12th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

[Apply today for DSSG 2015!] Rapid growth, followed by a period of suburbanization and instability, ending with a gradual rebirth of the core: that’s the last hundred years in a nutshell for most American cities. [...]

Data Science For Social Good 2014 Videos: Chapter 1

By | November 7th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

On Monday, applications will open for fellows, mentors, project managers, and project partners for Data Science for Social Good 2015. We'll publish more information about those categories and our plans for the program's third year [...]

Mining Data, Making a Difference

By | September 5th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

In June, it was just rows and rows of data: property assessments, school records, smart meter readings, contract bids, and census results. By the end of August, this raw material was transformed into tools for [...]

Defining the Undefinable, Measuring the Unmeasurable

By | August 27th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

“When we enter our clients’ homes, we’re not just nurses, we’re also confidants and counselors,” said nurses from Nurse-Family Partnership’s DuPage County, Illinois local agency. For decades, Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a national non-profit organization that [...]

Tracking the Paths of Homelessness

By | August 20th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

"We believe that ending homelessness is possible and that, in Chicago, everyone should have a home." - Chicago's Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone Problem definition On a bitterly cold night in January 2013, Chicago [...]

Making our moms proud: Reducing Maternal Mortality in Mexico

By | August 4th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Despite advances in prenatal and postnatal health care, maternal mortality remains a major medical problem around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 800 women die every day from preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related causes, [...]

Helping Schools with Interventions

By | August 1st, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela In today’s world where innovation and creativity are the key drivers of any economy, the importance of educating [...]

Heatmaps for Habitats: Enriching Conservation Sensor Data

By | July 30th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Environmental causes typically work to preserve portions of the planet in their pre-human state. But conservation groups are increasingly finding ways of using modern technology to support their mission, allowing them to gather more information [...]

A Hackathon For (But Mostly Against) ‘Evil’

By | July 29th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

It’s been a busy summer, with all of us working hard on complex and socially meaningful projects. So on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, twenty fellows got together to take a short break and [...]

DSSG Models Hit The Runway

By | July 25th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

An essential step for nearly every data science project is to build a statistical model, an algorithm or analysis that converts raw data into predictions, classifications, or other insights. At DSSG, whether teams are focused [...]

Anticipating Back to School Numbers, Before Summer Vacation

By | July 23rd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

In the Chicago Public Schools system, each school's budget depends on how many students enroll there. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict how many students will enroll in a given year, and inaccurate predictions [...]

Making Smart Meters Smarter

By | July 18th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

What's So Smart About a Smart Meter? Smart meters are an integral unit of smart grids, technology hailed as the future of energy management. Replacing standard meters that are read in person once a month, [...]

UChicago Program Trains Data Scientists To Make A Difference

By | July 16th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Data Science for Social Good returns for 2014 with 48 fellows, 12 projects Media contact: Rob Mitchum, rmitchum@uchicago.edu Sniffing out corruption in World Bank contracts. Predicting where Chicago children are most at risk for lead [...]

Warm Calls and Persuadability: Enroll America

By | July 14th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Last week, DSSG fellow Peter Landwehr went to one of Enroll America's tabling events at Richton Park, IL, and watched how it went. The event was a standard Enroll America information session, with a volunteer [...]

Clean Development: Data Mining for Corruption Risks

By | July 11th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Every year, the World Bank Group lends billions of dollars to fund infrastructure and other development projects around the globe. Projects vary widely in scale and scope, ranging from developing hydropower systems to rehabilitating coral [...]

Battling Blight in The Bluff City

By | July 10th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

To most people, Memphis, Tennessee evokes images of Elvis, Beale Street, and BBQ. But like many American cities, Memphis also faces a legacy of urban planning dominated by suburban growth and automobile transportation. Since 1970, [...]

Shining a Light on Earmarks

By | July 2nd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Earmarks have been called “the best known, most notorious, and most misunderstood aspect of the congressional budgetary process.” These government budget items allocated to specific people, places, or projects are alternately described as a subversion [...]

2014 Projects, Part 4: Chicago Department of Public Health, Montgomery County Public Schools, Conservation International

By | June 27th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

It's hard to believe we're already a third of the way through the summer. During a foggy week where Chicago did its best impression of San Francisco, the DSSG fellows started to transition from exploring [...]

2014 Projects, Part 3: Memphis, Health Leads, Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness

By | June 20th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

The time for introductions is over at Data Science for Social Good. Joined at the start of the week by a smattering of late-arriving fellows, the project teams are now at full strength, and they [...]

Why Doing Data Science with Non-Profits is Different from Industry

By | June 18th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Republished from DSSG fellow Carl Shan's blog, where is he recapping the summer week-by-week. One of the non-profit partners my team is working with came in to the office this past week. They shared with [...]

2014 Projects, Part 2: WikiEnergy, Enroll America/Get Covered Illinois, Nurse-Family Partnership

By | June 13th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

It was a busy week of working with and learning from our project partners, in person at the DSSG space on State Street, on video chats, and in conference calls. Fellows heard how a diverse [...]

2014 Projects, Part 1: World Bank Group, CPS, Harris School/Sunlight Foundation

By | June 12th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

In the second week of the fellowship, fellows and mentors have heard from a wide range of our project partners for the summer, learning from the experts about the problems they will soon tackle. Between [...]

Fighting The Babel Effect with Bootcamp

By | June 5th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

As a young, rapidly-growing, and broad field, data science has a language problem. A self-described data scientist may prefer to program in Python, R, or Stata. They use cloud computing resources, relational databases, or MapReduce. [...]

Introductions and Definitions

By | June 3rd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

"Data science is not a real field, it's just statistics done by people with weird hair." You might not expect a fellowship called Data Science for Social Good to begin their summer with a debate [...]

Meet the 2014 DSSG Fellows

By | May 29th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

This year, we’ve expanded our fellow slots by a dozen, from 36 to 48. The fellows come from universities throughout North America, from McGill University in Montreal to Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico [...]

Meet the 2014 DSSG Mentors

By | May 23rd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

The Data Science for Social Good mentors are the core of the fellowship. As experienced data scientists from industry and academia, the mentors bring both technical knowledge and real-world experience to the program. They’re helpful [...]

Welcome to Data Science for Social Good 2014

By | May 21st, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Last year, it was just an idea: Bring three dozen students to Chicago and prepare them for a career using data to make the world a better place. But when the Eric & Wendy Schmidt [...]

CDOT: Using Data to Shine a Light on the Impact of City Services

By | February 6th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Street lights are one of many public services that residents take for granted. In addition to helping us avoid car crashes, alley and street lights allow us to be aware of our surroundings and can [...]

Case Foundation: A Hairball to Help Non-Profits Untangle Strategy

By | January 28th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Starting a new nonprofit is a difficult process. Besides choosing a mission, developing a strategy and hiring employees, a new organization must figure out how they fit into the larger nonprofit landscape and find support. [...]

Divvy Part 2: A Crystal Ball for Rebalancing

By | January 23rd, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Empty and full stations pose a major problem in the Divvy system. After all, bike share really only needs two things to work: a bike to ride and a dock to leave the bike. Chicago's [...]

Cook County Land Bank Part 2: A Real Estate Finder for Vacant Properties

By | January 20th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

In a previous post, we asked how the Cook County Land Bank Authority ought to decide which vacant and abandoned properties to acquire. Let’s illustrate this question with a hypothetical comparison of two homes in [...]

Mesa Public Schools: Undermining Undermatching

By | January 16th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

This fall, more than 2 million American high school seniors will apply to college. A growing body of research tells us that low-income students are at a disadvantage in this process. Even when they beat [...]

QCRI: Tapping Twitter for Faster Disaster Relief

By | December 13th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

In October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy raged up the East Coast of the United States, many people in the path of the storm turned to a relatively new communication channel: Twitter. Between October 27th and [...]

NorthShore: mining medical data to tackle the obesity crisis

By | December 6th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic in the US. More than a third of American adults are obese, and another third are overweight. If this trend holds, 42% of American adults will be obese by [...]

Fellow Applications for Summer 2014 will be available December 1

By | November 14th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Fellow Applications for Summer 2014 will be available December 1, 2013. Application Deadline is February 1, 2014. Watch this website for more details.

Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship to return for 2014

By | November 13th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Program seeks fellows, mentors and partners After a successful first summer, in which aspiring data scientists from around the world completed innovative data and analytics projects with non-profit and government partners, the Eric & Wendy [...]

DSSG Fellowship Planning Workshop: Nov 14-15

By | October 16th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Due to a lot of interest from other universities (and cities) in running similar programs next summer, we are conducting a workshop to recap what we learned over the summer and to help others organize [...]

Divvy: Helping Chicago’s New Bike Share Find Its Balance

By | August 9th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

“Wow! What is that? Where’d you get it?,” the beach-going twentysomething asked me. I looked up from the map on my phone and steadied the powder-blue bike under me to answer his question. It was, [...]

CTA: Why Bus Crowding Happens and How Data Can Help

By | August 2nd, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

We've all been there: standing at an intersection, waiting for the bus to come. Passengers keep arriving at the stop, and you start to realize you could have a crowded ride ahead. When the bus [...]

The Match Game: Measuring the National Impact of Nurse-Family Partnership

By | July 31st, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

There are thousands of organizations around the country that are dedicated to helping people in need. Yet despite those good intentions, few of those organizations are scientifically rigorous in evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in [...]

Fellow profile: Nathan Leiby

By | July 26th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

The core goal of the Data Science for Social Good fellowship is to connect technically skilled people to social problems. For Nathan Leiby, this is already familiar territory. Leiby is a computer science graduate from [...]

The Dark Matter of Public Policy Data (Part 2): Statistical Solutions

By | July 19th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Part one of this series talked about the “dark matter” of public policy data -- the invisible factors not present in a dataset that can distort an evaluation of a program’s effectiveness. In this post, [...]

Ushahidi: Machine Learning for Human Rights

By | July 15th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

"2-car acc @ State & Lake, both drivers injred" That short, hastily typed text message or tweet contains a lot of information that police, emergency responders, news organizations and drivers could use. A human observer [...]

Cook County Land Bank, Part 1: The Problem

By | July 11th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Project, Blog Post|

Boarded up buildings and overgrown lots have plagued Chicago's low-income neighborhoods for decades. Over the past five years, however, vacant and abandoned properties have spread beyond the inner city and into the suburbs, disrupting formerly [...]

Why Data Science Needs Openness

By | July 9th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

I cringe a little at the term data science. It conveys all the hype and false-promise you'd expect of an occupation recently described as the "sexiest job of the 21st century". It's all-encompassing, yet it [...]

Between the Buzzwords, A Different Route for Tech

By | July 2nd, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Last week's Techweek Chicago event had all the trappings of your typical tech conference. Sprawled out over a floor of the city's massive Merchandise Mart was a maze of exhibitor booths luring attendees to learn [...]

Redefining Which Problems Matter

By | June 28th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

The first few weeks of the fellowship focused on defining our problems -- talking to our partners, understanding their problems and data , brainstorming technical strategies, and scoping out proposed solutions. But alongside defining our [...]

Training Data Scientists: Problem-solving

By | June 26th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Data science isn't just about creating algorithms, writing code, or visualizing data. The first step is finding the right problem to solve. Many of the governments and nonprofit organizations we've talked to are excited about [...]

Fellow Roundtable: Learning New Data Science Tools

By | June 25th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

We spent much of the first week of the fellowship getting fellows up to speed on git, python, R, and other data science tools. The idea was to give everyone a shared sense of what's [...]

Fellow Roundtable: Reflections on the Start of the Fellowship

By | June 24th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

The Data Science for Social Good fellowship is just getting started. Fellow Skyler Whorton wrote a blog post reflecting on week one of the program. We've brought thirty six fellows with diverse backgrounds and perspectives [...]

The Dark Matter of Public Policy Data (Part 1)

By | June 19th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Imagine you are asked to compare patient outcomes at area hospitals. In minutes, you can pull the Medicare data for 30-day mortality rates after a heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, and start crunching numbers. [...]

Fellow profile: Andrea Fernández Conde

By | June 17th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

In Mexico, drug cartels are locked in violent rivalries that profoundly affect the entire country and its population. The history of this ongoing struggle is complex and steeped in political controversy, but some believe that [...]

Welcome to Chicago: Who are you, and what are you looking for?

By | June 11th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

This was the question asked of us by Paul O’Connor last Friday, at the first of our weekly lunch speaker series. O’Connor is an urban strategist at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill who formerly headed a [...]

Training Data Scientists: Tools

By | June 8th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

Our goals for the fellowship are to train more data scientists and to get them working on problems that really matter. Lots of folks have been asking about how we're doing that. Data scientists are [...]

The Fellows Arrive

By | June 4th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

They're here! Despite canceled flights, eleventh hour visas, stolen laptops, hellish final exams, and a last minute internet installation, our inaugural fellows poured into our new office this morning. We spent our first day getting [...]

The Fellowship and the Fellows

By | May 21st, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Blog Post|

The data deluge As technology penetrates further into everyday life, we're creating lots of data. (We could quote all the Gartner and Forrester made-up numbers, but we'll spare you.) Businesses are scrambling to find data [...]