CSI Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz presented at DataGotham, a research conference where NYC data researchers meet in order to exchange their ideas about big data, held at the historic New York Academy of Medicine on September 20, 2013.
Dr. Fritz’s presentation focused on Hurricane Sandy and the large amounts of data that CSI’s research team collected about the storm. CSI’s Hurricane Sandy research team of Dr. Fritz, who is also a Geology Professor; Dr. Alan Benimoff, a Lecturer of Engineering and Physics; and Dr. Michael Kress, the Director of the CUNY High-Performance Computer Center, collected topographical information about Staten Island bathymetric or seafloor topography, as well as used hindcasting to predict and test new models that will help forecast future storms. The presentation also highlighted New York Harbor’s vulnerability to large storms, and the topographical information that the CSI team gathered could be used by city officials to help plan for the next emergency and educate the public about the safest areas on the Island.
Dr. Fritz was one of several presenters to speak at the conference, whose purpose was to shed light on the importance of big data and the many ways that researchers can use large datasets to study significant patterns about any field of study. As our capabilities to collect and store large quantities of data increases, there is a greater need to explore how this data can be used to create inferences that can be used for anything from predicting storm or traffic patterns to influencing major governmental policy shifts.
According to the DataGotham Website, New York is “a great place to be doing data science” because “New Yorkers think and do things differently, and we have a very diverse and unique set of constituencies in the city that have cultivated a special community and culture.”
“The conference was enlightening,” Dr. Benimoff said, speaking of his experience of attending the DataGotham research conference, which he called an “opportunity for the best and brightest minds of NYC to discuss research that may help change the way institutions collect and use data for the benefit of their communities.”