Vertices Newsletter—Issue 9

Nov 17, 2015 • Categories: Featured | News | Newsletter

The 9th issue of our Vertices newsletter is out. Annual Specialist Meeting A Evolves to Spatial Un-Conference Spatial Discovery Project Spatial Coffee Hour New Personnel—Antonio Medrano Read the newsletter [pdf]....

ThinkSpatial: O’Donovan & Kang

Nov 17, 2015 • Categories: Event | ThinkSpatial

The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents Interactive Spatial Representations for Search and Recommendation Algorithms John O’Donovan & Byungkyu (Jay) Kang, Computer Science, UCSB 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map) Abstract. Search and recommendation algorithms have become standard tools that most of us interact with in our daily lives. Whether it is a movie from Netflix, an advert on Facebook, a result from a Google query or a product recommendation from Amazon, these complex algorithms work behind the scenes to passively or actively learn about user tastes and preferences. This information is used in turn to personally tailor the information space for the user. However, these systems are not always accurate, and many of us have probably asked questions akin to “why does Netflix keep recommending me Korean Dramas?”, or “why is Amazon trying to sell me a Kimono?”. The problem, originally highlighted by Herlocker et. al., involves stale or incorrect data, algorithm transparency and result explanation. If the mechanics and reasoning of a search or recommendation algorithm can be communicated to a user in the right way, it can improve acceptance of the prediction and trust in the system as a whole. Better still, by mapping the mechanics of information filtering algorithms into visual spaces, we support the notion of user control over the algorithm at recommendation time, helping to build trust, improve user experience and alleviate issues arising from stale or otherwise incorrect user profile information (such as those Korean Dramas and that Kimono…). This talk will explore current research at UCSB’s Four Eyes Lab that focuses on these questions. John O’Donovan will introduce the key concepts and challenges of interacting with artificial advice givers, and introduce a novel system known as MoodPlay, that recommends music based on an interactive latent space of mood information from a database of music artists. Byungkyu Kang will lead the second half of the talk, focusing on the ways that filtering and recommendation algorithms can be applied to social media data and represented in geo-spatial visualizations, and giving a discussion of the types of novel insights that these representations can provide. John O’Donovan is an associate research scientist and principal investigator at the Computer Science Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. John received his PhD in Computer Science in 2008 from University College Dublin, Ireland, advised by Prof. Barry Smyth. His research background is in AI, with a focus on recommender systems. He has a particular interest in modeling trust in social networks, from the perspective of mining big network data, and also from the HCI perspective. Dr. O’Donovan has published more than 50 research papers in peer reviewed conferences and journals. His research on human computer interaction and...

ThinkSpatial: W. Randolph Franklin

Nov 10, 2015 • Categories: Event | ThinkSpatial

The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents Global properties from local topology W. Randolph Franklin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy NY USA) 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map) Abstract. This talk will show how to use only local topological properties of polygons and maps to compute various global properties, and even to overlay pairs of maps. This extends the power of local topology beyond local properties like the 9-intersection matrix.  Typically, we require only the location of each vertex, plus the directions of its adjacent edges and the names and sectors of its adjacent faces.  No more global info, such as the complete edges or faces, is needed.  Area, center of gravity, perimeter length, and similar properties are computable with a simple map-reduce over the data. With this formulation, coding is easier, fewer special cases need be considered, and the computations parallelize easily.  The target may be either a shared memory CPU like an Intel Xeon, or an Nvidia GPU processor. Overlaying two 2D maps is also easy.  Salles Magalhaes has implemented EPUG-OVERLAY, which can overlay the US Block Boundaries and US Water Bodies maps, with a total of 54,000,000 vertices and 739,000 faces, in only 322 elapsed seconds (excluding I/O) on our dual 8-core Xeon workstation.  That time is using 16 cores, and is 11x faster than using one core. Unlike other overlay implementations, EPUG-OVERLAY computes the overlay with no roundoff error whatsoever, because it uses rational numbers. W. Randolph Franklin is a Professor in the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Dept, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy NY USA), with a courtesy joint appointment in the Computer Science Dept. His current NSF research project is to understand the mathematics of terrain. His research hobby is designing and implementing small, simple, and fast data structures and algorithms for large geometric datasets. Note that efficiency in both space and time can become more important as machines get faster. This research is applicable to computational cartography, computer graphics, computational geometry, and geographic information science. During 2000-2002 Franklin served a rotation to the National Science Foundation, as Director of the Numeric, Symbolic, and Geometric Computation Program. He was one of the prime movers of the two Computational Algorithms and Representations for Geometric Objects (CARGO) solicitations, joint between NSF and DARPA. Franklin’s degrees are from Toronto (BSc, Computer Science), and Harvard (AM & PhD, Mathematica Accomodata). — The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts. Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, aballatore@spatial.ucsb.edu) to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial...

UCSB Creates eScholarship Spatial Archives for NCGIA, CSISS, and spatial@ucsb

Oct 30, 2015 • Categories: Featured | News | Projects | Resources

The Center for Spatial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (spatial@ucsb) announces the launch of its Spatial Archives. The project is hosted on eScholarship, an online library of downloadable publications of the University of California, which is now home to nearly 500 documents associated with the research and education initiatives of the following: * Center for Spatial Studies (http://escholarship.org/uc/spatial_ucsb), since 2007; * Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (http://escholarship.org/uc/spatial_ucsb_csiss), 1999‒2013; and * National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (including Varenius, the NCGIA project to advance the science of geographic information) (http://escholarship.org/uc/spatial_ucsb_ncgia), 1988‒1999. The collections feature technical, program, and meeting reports (including more than 1,600 position papers by meeting participants over a span of 27 years), special publications, and curricula and other educational resources. Each document is assigned a unique permalink, which, unlike a regular website address, is a permanent URL for access in perpetuity. All materials submitted to eScholarship are automatically deposited in the California Digital Library’s Merritt Preservation Repository, thus ensuring their long-term security and accessibility. This project was initiated by Werner Kuhn, Director of spatial@ucsb, and carried out under the direction of Professor/Researcher Emeritus Donald Janelle, with technical support from Ph.D. Candidates Kitty Currier and Jessica Marter-Kenyon; eScholarship support from Katrina Romanowsky; and advice and assistance from Andrea Ballatore, Guylene Gadal, and Karen Doehner. The intent of this year-long effort has been to: 1) provide the community with reliable access to a primary collection of geographic information science; 2) remove the risk associated with the uncertain sustainability of program-based websites; and 3) position these resources for integration within the broader literature to help document a period when geographic information science was taking flight. The Center for Spatial Studies is especially interested in learning about similar projects and of plans by other organizations to document long-term programs in geographic information science and related fields. Please send comments and questions to Werner Kuhn (kuhn@geog.ucsb.edu) and Don Janelle...

ThinkSpatial: Mark Buntaine

Oct 20, 2015 • Categories: Event | ThinkSpatial

The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents Geospatial Impact Evaluation: Using Land Cover to Measure the Impacts of Development Programs   Mark Buntaine, Bren School of Environmental Science, UCSB 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map) Abstract. Knowing where international development projects are located opens up new ways to evaluate their impacts. Fortunately, land cover data associated with program effectiveness is now widely available across time and space. Using a land tenure program in Ecuador that attempted to decrease deforestation as an example, this talk will illustrate the promise of geospatial impact evaluation as an extension of evaluation techniques commonly employed in the social sciences. Geospatial impact evaluation is particularly useful to understand impacts of policies and programs over longer periods of time, where traditional methods of data collection are prohibitively costly. This approach to evaluating programs can be applied to a wide range of development priorities, including agriculture, natural resource management, infrastructure development, and the management of pollution.   Mark Buntaine‘s research investigates the sources of effective environmental policy in developing countries, with an emphasis on the targeting and impact of foreign aid. Although many of the world’s most significant environmental problems occur in developing countries, the implementation of environmental policies is often challenging because of inadequate resources and poor governance. Buntaine leads a range of international projects that deal with the allocation practices of aid donors, the participation of citizens in environmental policy-making, the relationship between public and private financing of environmental technologies, the processes that lead to effective government reform, and the evaluation of environmental projects, among other interests. Prior to arriving at the Bren School in 2013, he served on the faculty in the Government Department at the College of William & Mary. He has done fieldwork in many countries across Asia, Africa, and South America. — The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts. Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, aballatore@spatial.ucsb.edu) to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking. Follow spatial@ucsb on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Google...