Computing for Good
CS4911/CS8803, Fall 2009 in the Sustainable Education Building, room 110, T/Th 3-4:30.
Instructors: Santosh Vempala (Office hours: Thu, 1-3pm in Klaus 2222) and Ellen Zegura (Office hours: TBD)
How can computing help make the world a better place? Can we avoid wars, alleviate homelessness and improve global health using computers? What are the technical challenges that arise and what humanistic issues have to be taken into account and understood in the process? In this second, expanded edition of the course, we continue to explore problems faced by developing countries and underserved populations from a computing perspective. The course will be project-centered with teams of students choosing project topics early in the semester and working towards a solution by the end of the semester.
Calendar/Readings (tentative), Course Wiki (including homework), Blog (email stefany@cc to be a contributor)
Students will be conceptualizing and developing an automated system to track and manage all specimens collected in the CDC overseen testing labs in 70 countries worldwide (over 1500 labs). Currently used is a paper monitoring system, the inherent inefficiencies of which frequently result in mismatched or delayed test results. The system would improve accuracy, speed of assistance and increase the number of specimens able to be handled.
In 2008, a GA Tech graduate student Abhisheak Iyer and faculty member Santosh Vempala worked with the Regional Commission On Homelessness to develop a web-based database to help us track homeless clients who enter our Street/Shelter to Home program. This dynamic system has been an incredible improvement over our past tracking method (ie Excel). Now we are looking for students to help with the next level of this project: analysis and trends. With information of over 500 homeless consumers we feel confident (but not equipped) that there will be trends that may allow us to improve services to and for our consumers.
People who work at social services agencies that help people who are behind on their rent and mortgages are overwhelmed by phone calls from people who are about to be evicted or whose homes are being foreclosed or need emergency housing for other reasons. They need to be able to quickly client information in the community's shared care management system so they can serve as many of these people as possible. This project will examine their needs and patterns of use to design an intuitive, efficient user interface to the existing community care management system (Pathways) that needs minimal training. The end goal is that employees and volunteers at financial assistance organizations spend less time looking for information and more time helping people in need.
This project is motivated by people who need help paying their rent or mortgage, or need emergency housing or other social services. The portal would be able a secure site that interacts with the shared care management system that's used by over a 100 local social services agencies, and check their eligibility for available services, review their services history and apply for services online. This project will make it possible for people to obtain help more quickly, while saving time and effort by avoiding applying for help at social services organizations that can't help them. This project will also benefit social services agencies by streamlining the process of qualifying people for services.
MyMANET is a project for students interested in developing functional communications network in disaster situations and developing regions with low to zero communications infrastructure. The project will target both usability issues and developing relevant applications for such regions, with the goal of a real-life deployment.
In this C4G project we will leverage the strength of ZAP asthma, a community driven project that reduces preventable morbidity and mortality for children living in Atlanta's Empowerment Zone by administering a home intervention to minimize environmental triggers. We will develop technology that trained community health workers and families can use to sustain ZAP's intervention and increases parental sense of control in managing their child's asthma.
Team: V. Gopi Krishna (lead), M.N.S.V Prasad, Phani Chakravarthy, P.Madhu, B. Ganesh Kumar.
(This is a team which will participate in the course remotely!)
A website that connects volunteers, donors and other contributors to charities and service organizations in need, e.g., orphanages, old age homes, blood banks etc., with information on the facilities, services offered, scope for donations/service, contact information, location details, modalities, year wise statistics etc. The goal is to enable people who have time or money or ideas to quickly and efficiently channel their resources towards a worthy local cause. The initial focus will be Vizag, India.
C4G is a project-based course where understanding a real problem, finding a solution, implementing, testing and deploying it will be your greatest reward. For those who need letter grades, these will be computed as follows:
Q1. Is this the new Computing For Good class that was supposed to be offered in 2009?
A. Yes, this is the second edition. In the Spring 2008 offering, seven teams worked on projects ranging from blood safety and truth and reconciliation (both in Africa) to low-income education and homelessness (both in Atlanta).
Q2. Does it still fulfil the CS 4911 requirement?
Q3. Are any overrides or permits required to register for the C4G section of the class?
A. No additional requirements.
Q4. Do students come up with projects or is there a list of projects?
A. We'll build a master list of project topics over the summer along with partners in the field for each topic. It will be up to student teams to determine their precise projects based on this list. Check this page for updates!