18
Jul
2014

Despite growing awareness and acceptance of climate change around the world, it remains hard for much of the public to grasp the impact of these changes beyond warmer temperatures. Should carbon emissions continue at their current levels, the Earth's new climate will have consequences for agriculture and food supply, economics, flooding, drought, and even where people live. To help warn the public about these serious concerns, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office released a graphic this week, the Human Dynamics of Climate Change map, which draws in part upon research at the CI's Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy.

09
Jul
2014

Last month, the Obama Administration and the EPA released a new plan to reduce carbon emissions from U.S. power plants in the hopes of ameliorating the effects of climate change. But the plan's call for increased use of natural gas stirred controversy in some environmental circles, given concerns about the consequences of fracking and the release of methane gas into the atmosphere from burning natural gas.

30
Jun
2014

As of today, the Data Science for Social Good fellowship is one-third of the way done. In their downtown Chicago headquarters, 48 fellows from around the world are hard at work with project partners from the non-profit and government sectors, helping them solve problems and get the most value out of their data. On the Data Science for Social Good website, the first round of projects have been announced with a small blurb describing the summer goals of each team. Topics this year range from education to energy efficiency, worldwide corruption to natural conservation, reducing lead exposure to reducing homelessness, and enrolling those without health insurance to connecting patients with services outside of the health care system. Here are three samples of the Data Science for Social Good projects, visit their projects page or the DSSG blog to read about the rest.

27
Jun
2014

When people talk about the most serious effects of climate change, they typically mention hotter temperatures, severe storms, rising sea levels, economic instability, and food security. Typically, the latter threat is measured in terms of the amount of calories produced by world agriculture, to quantify projected changes in maize, soy, wheat, and rice production under new climate conditions. But in a new editorial for Nature Climate Change, CI fellow Joshua Elliott and two co-authors explain how new research on changes in nutritional value of food grown in high-CO2 conditions suggests that calories alone may insufficiently describe the food security threat. 

Bloomberg View, Chicago Tribune, etc.
23
Jun
2014

The open release of city data has given residents exciting new ways of interacting with and benefiting from the information collected by city agencies. But what if there was a way to collect even broader, higher-resolution data on the daily life of the city, providing a massive stream of open data for research and the development of new applications to improve urban life? The Array of Things is a project of the CI's Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) to deploy interactive, modular sensor boxes around Chicago to collect real-time data on the city’s environment, infrastructure, and motion for research and public use. While the first nodes won't be installed along Michigan Avenue until later this summer, the media has seized upon the idea as an exciting new way of "instrumenting" a city for the greater good. 

19
Jun
2014

On the third anniversary of President Barack Obama establishing the Material Genome Initiative (MGI)—a multi-agency effort to transform materials science research in the United States through a national infrastructure—a consortium of research universities, national laboratories, and academic publishers announced the Materials Data Facility today.

19
Jun
2014

Last year, in an ornate downtown Chicago ballroom, the seeds were planted for a new multidisciplinary research network with an ambitious purpose: to understand and improve cities. By mixing together experts in computer science, public health, education, architecture, urban planning, art and social science, the Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network (USRCN) hoped to create versatile and knowledgeable teams that could find new approaches to study cities in a rapidly urbanizing world. Sixteen months later, the early fruits of those new collaborations helped inspire a new wave of discipline-crossing partnerships at the 2nd USRCN meeting, organized by the Urban Center for Computation and Data and held inside the world famous Art Institute of Chicago.

17
Jun
2014

Computer simulations that reveal a key mechanism in the replication process of influenza A may help defend against future deadly pandemics.
Treating influenza relies on drugs such as Amantadine that are becoming less and less effective due to viral evolution. But University of Chicago and Computation Institute scientists have published computational results that may give drug designers the insight they need to develop the next generation of effective influenza treatment.

13
Jun
2014

There's a new debate heating up in the world of climate modeling -- not the fictitious "debate" that plays out in the media over climate change and its causes, but a contest over the best methods to forecast how climate change will affect the planet. Until now, the dominant approach has been deterministic models, which use environmental variables and equations replicating physical laws to run numerical simulations of climate. But as these models seek higher and higher resolution, they become extremely expensive computationally, without much improvement in forecasting accuracy.

06
Jun
2014

For software geeks, the breakout star of the Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year wasn’t the next Macbook or iPhone, but a new language called Swift, for programming Apple devices. But since 2007, Computation Institute computer scientists have created and supported a completely different Swift: a high-level programming language to make fast parallel computing on any system easier for scientists, engineers, and data analysts.