Fueled by the abundance of personal information on the internet—yours, ours, everyone’s—data science is making business smarter, healthcare more efficient, and technology easier. At BU, our researchers are harnessing this revolutionary discipline in a variety of ways.
- Margrit Betke, professor of computer science, and Terry Ellis (MED’05), associate professor of physical therapy and director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation, are using a camera-based AI system in Parkinson’s patients’ homes to track the reach and speed of patient movement and compare them to ideal parameters. Software then sends an assessment to a healthcare provider, who can advise the patient to move faster or slower or further extend their movements.
- Elaine Nsoesie, assistant professor of global health and a Data Science Faculty Fellow in the Data Science Initiative at the Hariri Institute, was part of a team that mapped 80 million geotagged tweets from more than 600,000 Twitter users to census tracts and zip codes across the United States to develop indicators of happiness, food, and physical activity. She and postdoctoral associate Nina Cesare hope to better understand how discussions of health behaviors on social media differ across demographic groups.
- Peter Chin, research professor of computer science, and Jacob Harer, a PhD student, worked with researchers at Draper, a Cambridge engineering not-for-profit, to develop technology to scan software systems for vulnerabilities often used by cybercriminals to gain entry. The tool, which used deep learning to train neural networks to identify patterns that indicate software flaws, can scan millions of lines of code in seconds, and will someday have the ability to fix the coding errors that it spots.
- Three BU political scientists—Katherine Levine Einstein, Maxwell Palmer, and David Glick—compiled a data set by coding thousands of instances of people who chose to speak about housing development at planning and zoning board meetings in 97 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts, then matched the participants with voter and property tax data. The researchers found that speakers tended to be male, older, whiter, and more likely to be homeowners than most residents of their towns, and they overwhelmingly opposed new housing developments.
- Fueled by a three-year, $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, engineering professors Ioannis Paschalidis and Christos Cassandras, and Rebecca Mishuris (MED’08), assistant professor of medicine, are developing a pilot health informatics system to identify patients who are at risk of heart disease or diabetes.
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