The BDEM project coordinator Professor Akerkar recently visited the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University to discuss the bilateral research and teaching activities and to establish research cooperation on leveraging social media data for social good. Professor Akerkar had meetings with BDEM colleague Dr. Hemant Purohit, Head of Humanitarian Informatics & Social Computing Research Lab (Human Info Lab) - in addition to colleagues and students in the School. The Human Info Lab investigates human behavior in online data streams via interdisciplinary research in Information and Psychological Sciences that informs the design of intelligent/AI systems to augment human capabilities at workplaces. This research is employed in the design of information systems for social good and future smart city services for a variety of domains, including natural crises (e.g. hurricanes), societal crises (e.g. hate, gender violence), and human crises (e.g. terrorism, cyber attacks).
Prof. Akerkar also delivered a seminar on 'Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Build Resilient Societies' at the Volgenau School of Engineering.
Synopsis of the seminar:
The society needs a system of resilience management going beyond conventional emergency management, in order to address the complexities of integrated systems and the uncertainty of future threats. Resilience focuses on enhancing the performance of a system in the face of multiple hazards, rather than preventing or mitigating the loss of assets due to specific events; it therefore widens the approach to safety and functioning of a complex system. Looking at it from disaster management phases perspective, resilience starts with the prevention, paves to preparedness, is assessed in response and is demonstrated in effectiveness when the recovery phase is complete and lasts less. This seminar focused on our research direction to improve disaster resilience by understanding risk perception mechanisms and risk awareness in diverse communities and for diverse risks.