Leverage Big Data
Language Flags

Translation Disclaimer

HPCwire Enterprise Tech HPCwire Japan

February 29, 2012

Putting Data to Work for Public Good

Recent budget cuts have forced a heavy financial burden on many U.S. cities, some have even filed for bankruptcy, unable to pay for essential services with lower tax revenues. But Code for America, the non-profit that aims to help cities become more efficient through the power of the Internet, thinks it has a solution.  

Yale alumni and the organization’s founder Jennifer Pahlka, mentions how Code for America gained inspiration from current board member Tim O’Reilly. In a keynote speech at ETech in 2008, O’Reilly made a call for hackers to “work on stuff that matters”. The group consists of tech industry leaders, city experts and “web geeks” (they don’t mind the name). Their goal is to improve how government operates through the power of the web.

This year, the San Francisco organization is hosting a four-part seminar series called “Big Data for the Public Good”, sponsored by Greenplum. The series is a discussion of how data scientists and change agents are using the growth of big data to address current challenges.  

The first seminar took place on January 23, and featured speakers Michal Migurski and Eric Rodenbeck of Stamen. The focus of the seminar was data visualization. Roger Magoulas began the seminar by talking about the steps data scientists take to organize information collected from a variety of sources.  He also explained that once the information is properly prepared, a new realm of possibilities open up, allowing the data to tell a compelling story.

Michal Migurski talked about Stamen’s work as a company that makes data relevant to a mass audience. A popular project completed was the Live Hurricane Maps site, in a partnership with MSNBC. He also talked about Oakland Crimespotting, an interactive, crime tracking web interface he created after becoming frustrated with Oakland’s exising crime tracker.

The next seminar will take place on March 19. Jake Porway, data scientist for the New York Times will be discussing Data Without Borders, a group that assists non-profits with resources from the data science community. The goal is to “use data in the service of humanity”

On April 3, Ward Cunningham, Nike’s Open Data for Sustainability Fellow, will discuss his collaboration with data managers. Their goals are to model product lifecycle and promote the creation of environmentally friendly products along with sound manufacturing processes.

The last seminar, titled “Data Science as a Sport”, will feature Jeremy Howard of Kaggle.  Howard is both President and Chief Scientist for Kaggle, a platform that holds predictive modeling competitions. For example, the site is currently holding a $3 million competition to determine how many days a patient will spend in a hospital over the next year.

Code for America looks determined to display the advantage analytics can play for government. Given the economic climate, the group has a lot of opportunity to prove its point.

Share Options


» Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter


There are 0 discussion items posted.


Most Read Features

Most Read News

Most Read This Just In

Cray Supercomputer

Sponsored Whitepapers

Planning Your Dashboard Project

02/01/2014 | iDashboards

Achieve your dashboard initiative goals by paving a path for success. A strategic plan helps you focus on the right key performance indicators and ensures your dashboards are effective. Learn how your organization can excel by planning out your dashboard project with our proven step-by-step process. This informational whitepaper will outline the benefits of well-thought dashboards, simplify the dashboard planning process, help avoid implementation challenges, and assist in a establishing a post deployment strategy.

Download this Whitepaper...

Slicing the Big Data Analytics Stack

11/26/2013 | HP, Mellanox, Revolution Analytics, SAS, Teradata

This special report provides an in-depth view into a series of technical tools and capabilities that are powering the next generation of big data analytics. Used properly, these tools provide increased insight, the possibility for new discoveries, and the ability to make quantitative decisions based on actual operational intelligence.

Download this Whitepaper...

View the White Paper Library

Sponsored Multimedia

Webinar: Powering Research with Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (KDD)

Watch this webinar and learn how to develop “future-proof” advanced computing/storage technology solutions to easily manage large, shared compute resources and very large volumes of data. Focus on the research and the application results, not system and data management.

View Multimedia

Video: Using Eureqa to Uncover Mathematical Patterns Hidden in Your Data

Eureqa is like having an army of scientists working to unravel the fundamental equations hidden deep within your data. Eureqa’s algorithms identify what’s important and what’s not, enabling you to model, predict, and optimize what you care about like never before. Watch the video and learn how Eureqa can help you discover the hidden equations in your data.

View Multimedia

More Multimedia

Job Bank

Datanami Conferences Ad

Featured Events

May 5-11, 2014
Big Data Week Atlanta
Atlanta, GA
United States

May 29-30, 2014
St. Louis, MO
United States

June 10-12, 2014
Big Data Expo
New York, NY
United States

June 18-18, 2014
Women in Advanced Computing Summit (WiAC ’14)
Philadelphia, PA
United States

June 22-26, 2014

» View/Search Events

» Post an Event