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Stanford University Networking Seminar


Balaji Prabhakar (Stanford University)
A Big Data System for the Internet of Moving Things

12:15pm, Thursday, April 23 2015
Gates 104

About the Talk

The world consists of many interesting things that move: people go to work, home, school, and shop in public transit buses and trains or in cars and taxis; goods move on these networks and by trucks or by air each day; and food items travel a very large distance to meet their eater. Thus, massive movement processes are underway in the world every day and it is critical to ensure their safe, timely and efficient operation. Towards this end, low-cost sensing and acquisition of the movement data has been achieved: from GPS devices, RFID and barcode scanners, to smart commuter cards and smartphones, adequate snapshots of the movement process are becoming available.

In this talk, I will present a system for stitching together all these snapshots and reconstrcuting urban mobility at a very fine-grained level. The system, which we call the Space-Time Engine, provides an interactive dashboard and a querying engine for answering questions such as: what is the crowding at a train station? where're packages held up and how can their delivery be sped up? how can the available supply of transport capacity be better used to address daily demand as well as the demand on exceptional days (such as rallies and severe weather events). I will describe the STE's capabilities for operational and planning purposes, and as a learning system.

About the Speaker

Balaji Prabhakar is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, and Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Urban Engines. His work is centered around the design and management of large, complex networks — the Internet, Cloud Computing and, recently, Smart Transportation. He has developed and deployed “nudge engines”: systems for influencing the behavior of large populations. He is interested in data systems for “things that move” — commuters, cars, metro systems, food, etc. He has been a Terman Fellow at Stanford University and a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has received the NSF CAREER Award, the Erlang Prize, the Rollo Davidson Prize, and delivered the Lunteren Lectures. He is the recipient of the inaugural IEEE Innovation in Societal Infrastructure Award which recognizes “significant technological achievements and contributions to the establishment, development and proliferation of innovative societal infrastructure systems”. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Future Urban Mobility Initiative of the World Economic Forum.