Core Projects

A Data-Driven Approach for Enhanced Interdependent Network Resilience

The goal of this project is to develop means to improve information quality and use in emergency response, increasing the value of using messaging and microblogged data from crowds of non-professional participants during disasters. Despite the evidence of strong value to those experiencing the disaster and those seeking information concerning the disaster, there has been very little effort in detecting the relevance and veracity of messages in social media streams. The problem of data verification is one of the largest problems confronting emergency-response organizations contemplating using social media data. This research directly addresses this known problem by methods to measure relevant and verifiable information. The results of this research will have a direct pipeline to organizations involved in emergency response. Therefore the research has the potential to help organizations, which respond to emergencies, make use of large amounts of citizen-produced data, which in turn may improve the speed, quality, and efficiency of emergency response leading to better support to those who need them, and more lives saved.

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Aurorasaurus was a a two-year inter-disciplinary project that pursued tightly coupled goals within human centered computing, citizen science, and space weather research. The aurora borealis of the northern hemisphere and its twin, the aurora australis of the southern hemisphere, are among the most beautiful and awe-inspiring of natural phenomena. As the aurora is a visible manifestation of space weather, observations of aurora are potentially a means of forecasting its catastrophic extremes. We capitalized on public curiosity by creating an instrument to bridge a gap in realtime forecasting of the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis. This system allows interested citizens to collect, analyze, and redistribute the location of the Aurora around the world in real time.

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Inter-organizational Decision Making and Organization Design

Highly complex decision making involving multiple organizations, which have both shared and private interests, pose many challenges in the critical area of disaster relief as well as for organizational scholars. In particular, it is difficult to understand how the structure, distribution of decision rights, and governance of a multi-organization coordination body influences decision-making processes and outcomes. Also, systematic assessment of the effects of improved decision making for related activities, such as the provision of goods in a supply chain, presents a significant challenge. This research addressed these problems in the context of decision making for information and communication technology (ICT) coordination in humanitarian relief. This continues to be an area exemplified by the communication failures in the relief effort for.

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