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Tim KuhnOct 18, 2019 9:35:41 AM2 min read

New Light Technologies and General Assembly Showcase Data Science Applications for Disaster Management

New Light Technologies Inc. (NLT), in partnership with General Assembly (GA), will be hosting an event “Data for Disasters: Leveraging Data Science for Disaster Response & Management.” Selected GA students from across all of the school’s campuses will showcase innovative applications they developed during the most recent Data Science Immersive class offered by the school. These applications utilize technology, AI and Big Data to address some of the most fundamental problems of today’s world, with a focus on improving the way agencies such as FEMA, the World Bank, and developing countries prepare for and respond to major disasters. The event will take place on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at WeWork White House 1440 G St NW, from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

Since its launch last year, this partnership between NLT and GA has resulted in more than 40 innovative student projects that bring together state-of-the-art theories in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, open-source data and crowd-sourcing to improve decision-making during disasters. 

The students will present open-source applications they developed to support disaster management. Some examples of this cohort’s work include an application that utilizes live social media feeds to identify road closures or electrical power outages during disasters, a disaster management tool for the city of Houston and a damage assessor tool that allows to report level of damage to structures. All of these tools, developed in Python by the students, could be deployed as soon as the next emergency.

For over 10 years, NLT has been supporting FEMA to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate various types of hazards. The company has recently begun supporting the World Bank to better utilize geospatial data to improve its understanding of the developing world. Working with these organizations for so many years allowed NLT to better understand some of the challenges the disaster management community is facing today. “It is only when technology and science are brought together, that we see the most innovative solutions for critical problems. And only when you think outside of the box you come up with the best – and often simplest – ideas,” said Ran Goldblatt, Ph.D., NLT`s Chief Scientist.

According to Matthew Brems, M.S., Global Lead Instructor of GA`s Data Science Immersive course, this partnership has been a great learning opportunity for the school’s students for a number of reasons. “People are learning data science not by textbooks, but by doing important work. These projects are meaningful – students get the opportunity to complete a project on their own that has the power to save lives,” said Brems.

This initiative is part of NLT`s deepening involvement and collaboration with the scientific community and with various academic institutions across the U.S. This includes research projects and summer internship programs in partnership with U.S. universities such as UC San Diego and American University. 

Click here to register for the event.