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BDEM Coordinator's Visit to George Mason University

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).

Seminar by Prof. Akerkar on August 19, 2019

Seminar by Prof. Akerkar on August 19, 2019

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.

Research Summer Intern Exploring Big Disaster Data

BDEM summer intern Andreas Iden (Master student at the University of Bergen) & researchers at Big Data Research Group, Vestlandsforsking are investigating the potential for Big Data — harnessed through integrated & networked data resources, along with suitable analytics — to benefit Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response.

Minsung Hong and Andreas Iden

Hong Kong researchers visit to Vestlandsforsking

Professor Song Guo of Hong Kong Polytechnic University visited the Big Data Research Group at Vestlandsforsking, Sogndal in June 2019. His research interests are mainly in the areas of big data, cloud computing and networking, and distributed systems with over 400 papers published in major conferences and journals. He is a project partner in the INTPART BDEM and is contributing to the project with his expertise in the areas of resource management for cloud computing and big data in emergency situations and response.

His PhD student Joey Lau has also visited under student mobility programme of BDEM project. He has spent three months in the Big Data Research Group at Vestlandsforsking to earn a research experience on real-time data processing in emergency management. He joined the Group in April 2019 and working on an Automatic Disaster Keyword Expansion (ADKE) framework based on real-time social media data with Dr. Minsung Hong and Professor Rajendra Akerkar. Our two research groups are expanding collaboration on design and development of a road safety framework that adapts to the evolving mobility environment, new types of vehicles and users based on integrated solution that utilises the sensing and communication capabilities of road users.

The BDEM researchers at the European Climate Change Adaptation conference

Dr. Minsung Hong presenting the BDEM research

Dr. Minsung Hong presenting the BDEM research

Dr. Minsung Hong and Professor Rajendra Akerkar (Western Norway Research Institute) participated in the 4th European Climate Change Adaptation conference at Lisbon from 28-31 May 2019. The biennial European Climate Change Adaptation conference is convened by international and European projects on behalf of the European Commission.

Dr. Hong presented ongoing research, in the Big Data Research Group, entitled "Improving Resilience to Extreme Events" at the conference. The research addresses the gap in knowledge that impedes a scalable and versatile emergency data integration and proposes the state-of-the-art technology in the field to a new level through enhanced techniques that bring together machine learning, big data analytics and semantic technologies. This work elaborates our experience in enhancing situational awareness in order to support decision making during extreme climate events by capitalizing on the integration and aggregated analysis of mobility, meteorological, historical, forecasting data, as well as of a multitude of pertinent multimedia data inputs.

Interaction and collaboration with the disaster risk reduction (DRR) community is a critical element in improving climate change adaptation (CCA), as the communities share similar goals and activities. This is important in relation to the goals and targets of three major international agreements: Sendai Framework for DRR and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Just out a new research article by the BDEM researcher team

A new research paper entitled “A Framework to Integrate Social Media and Authoritative Data for Disaster Relief Detection and Distribution Optimization“ has been published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. In this paper, the BDEM researchers propose an interdisciplinary approach to (natural) disaster relief management. Our framework combines dynamic and static databases, which consist of social media and authoritative data of an afflicted region, respectively, to model rescue demand during a disaster situation. Using Global Particle Swarm Optimization and Mixed-Integer Linear Programming, we then determine the optimal amount and locations of temporal rescue centers. Furthermore, our disaster relief system identifies an efficient distribution of supplies between hospitals and rescue centers and rescue demand points. By leveraging the temporal dimension of the social media data, our framework manages to iteratively optimize the disaster relief distribution.

It is a joint work of Timothy Schempp (CICS, San Diego State University), Haoran Zhang (The University of Tokyo), Alexander Schmidt (Uni Hohenheim), Minsung Hong and Rajendra Akerkar (Vestlandsforsking).

Full article can be found at the journal website.