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University of Chicago Alaina Harkness

Beyond ad clicks: using 'Big Data' for social good

This story comes from our friends at the Computation Institute (CI), be sure to check out their website

Another year of the Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship is in the books, and like last year, the program culminated in a packed event where each project team presented the results of their work with non-profit and government partners. Attending this year's Data Fair at Chicago technology hub 1871 was Marketplace's David Gura, who also visited the Data Science for Social Good workspace to cover the program's origins in the 2012 Presidential race and the promising early returns of the 2014 projects.

The fellows set up shop in an unfinished office space in downtown Chicago, and started programming in Python and R.  Those are the hammer and hacksaw in a data scientist’s toolbox. The fellows made themselves at home. In the kitchen, behind a stack of boxes, there is coffee and a half-eaten pie, and tucked in a corner, there is a ping-pong table.

The outside groups – the Sunlight Foundation, WikiEnergy, Chicago Public Schools, to name a few – gave the fellows two things: problems to tackle and data. Lots and lots of data.

Learn more about the Data Science for Social Good fellowship at their website


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