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Masdar’s Project shortlisted for Big Data Challenge
April 15, 2014
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ABU DHABI: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology announced that a project presented by its Social Computing and Artificial Intelligence Lab has become one of the 10 finalists out of 652 entries submitted for the Telecom Italia Big Data and Trentino Open Data Challenge 2014.

The Masdar Instituteproject was presented in Italy by Aamena Alshamsi, a UAE national PhD student, who is part of a team headed by Dr Iyad Rahwan, associate professor, Computing and Information Science. Other team members include Maryam Almehrezi, Edmond Awad, Vahan Babushkin, Pai-Ju Chang, Zakariyah A. Shoroye, and Attila Peter Toth.

The Masdar Institute entry titled “Misery Loves Company: Twitter Sentiment Reveals Assortative Mixing of Aggregate Happiness in Urban Communication Networks” was chosen from among 652 entries submitted to the Challenge. A committee comprising of prominent international experts in academia and research evaluated the ideas for the contest that was open to individuals and teams belonging to any academic institution or companies.

The Big Data Challenge was organised by Telecom Italia, in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, Politecnico di Milano, Trento RISE (with the contribution of Fondazione Bruno Kessler and University of Trento) and European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) ICT Labs.

The contest was designed to stimulate the creation and development of innovative technological ideas in the field of “Big Data”. Participants were asked to transform existing data sets into innovative final products such as applications and “infographics”. Professionals and enthusiasts in the industry competed globally by choosing one of the three “Tracks” – app, data analytics and data visualisation. The Masdar Institute entry also came among the six finalists in the “data analytics” track.

The “Misery Loves Company” project investigated the relationship between communication among different geographic areas within an urban center and the ‘happiness’ levels in those areas, as measured by social media content production. The study has revealed that “unhappy cells attract a disproportionately larger volume of communication compared to happy cells, and that communication plays an important role within each cell”.

Results from the study may help contribute to greater understanding of the relationship between social structure and urban psychological well-being, which has consequences on productivity, innovation, and crime. Furthermore, the findings also inform the design of policies and strategies for improving urban well-being by taking into account the urban communication structure.
 

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