D4GX 2016: Four Surprising Tales About City Life, Told Through Data

Cities may end up being one of the biggest winners in the rise of data science. That much is clear from scanning some of the most cutting-edge research in the field. Cities can use data to help solve some of their biggest problems, say researchers, but only if scientists, social workers and software engineers come together to collectively leverage the data to find insights that point to solutions.


Bloomberg will once again spark the conversation around the opportunity in data science and urban policy during its annual Data for Good Exchange, held Sunday, September 25, 2016, in New York City. Attendees will hear keynote speeches from leaders in industry and government and discover the stories behind select field research that were culled this past summer from hundreds of submitted research papers. Here is some of the research being highlighted:


Fighting Human Trafficking with Data Analysis

Western Union’s Amy Ruppeck, Director, Global Anti-Money Laundering Investigations, has a second job. She also oversees the company’s anti-human-trafficking initiative, which tracks data and intelligence gathered from Western Union agents working in conjunction with law enforcement. In Ruppeck’s talk, attendees will learn how the company’s data analysis unit can help block financial transactions involved in human trafficking, as well as report the implicated consumers to relevant authorities.


Flint Water Crisis: Data-Driven Risk Assessments from Residential Water Testing Data

Because the exact cause of the water contamination in Flint, Michigan is unclear, no one has agreed upon the right testing protocol for sampling local wells. University of Michigan researchers are developing new predictive models to assess lead contamination risk, in some cases on a house-by-house basis. The researchers will present their methodology and data sources for training these models, which could prevent immediate poisonings and contribute to the long-term recovery of the city.
Authors: Jacob Abernethy, Cyrus Anderson, Chengyu Dai, Arya Farahi, Linh Van Nguyen, Adam Rauh, Eric Schwartz, Guangsha Shi, Jonathan Stroud, XInyu Tan, Jared Webb, Sheng Yang and Wenbo Shen from the University of Michigan.


How Open Data Can Make Us Smarter on Crime

The California Department of Justice has, over many years, collected a hoard of invaluable information about crime from police throughout the state. As the nation considers criminal justice reform, data patterns can lay the groundwork for better policing tactics, creating an opportunity to make California safer and strengthen the relationship between communities and law enforcement. The presenters will reveal a new software tool powered in part by the state’s OpenJustice Data Act of 2016 and describe how officials can get a holistic view of crime across the state.
Authors: Justin Erlich, Sundeep Pattem, and Ilana Parmer from the Office of the California Attorney General.


Public Intervention Strategies for Distressed Communities

What makes a distressed community? It’s hard to know without the right sustainability indicators, or SIs, as researchers call them. Programs intended to develop these indicators have typically focused on the specific heuristics—but this presentation will offer a methodology for using SIs to detect and analyze complex urban problems, and identify opportunities for public improvement to be applied in a targeted way for the best possible outcomes.
Author: Lester King, Rice University.


To see the full agenda of the Data for Good Exchange on September 25, visit https://www.bloomberg.com/company/d4gx/#agenda.