I attended the Smart Urban Infrastructures Workshop presented by LIDS at MIT. The idea was to bring together researchers and leaders from academia and industry for a series of short talks and panel discussions. The topics covered several types of “urban infrastructures”, including:
- Ride-sharing platforms: optimization, control, scheduling, and management (car sharing, bike sharing).
- Autonomous vehicles: challenges in robotics, coordination, safety, and accountability.
- Privacy and security in the age of the “internet of things”.
- Power grid: integrating uncertain renewable generation.
It was nice to have a mix of voices from both academia and industry in the panel discussions. As an academic, one can easily be isolated from the “real world”, so I appreciate the diversity. For example, we heard from Nicholas Chamandy (head of data science at Lyft) discuss the intricacies of the large-scale optimization problems faced by a data-driven ride-sharing company. We also heard from Andrew Therriault (chief data officer of the city of Boston) discuss the challenges in managing the smart infrastructure of a major US city.
Looking forward to attending more workshops of this sort in the future! Pictured above is the Stata Center at MIT, one of the coolest-looking buildings I’ve ever seen!