Vision collage_siteUnder its new director, Dr. Krzysztof Janowicz (beginning July 2020), the Center has shifted its focus to Spatial Data Science and Knowledge Graphs, thereby also connecting more closely to a campus emphasis that has steadily grown over the Center’s past funding period. More specifically, the Center has focused on spatiotemporally-explicit machine learning models operating on these graphs.

Pursuing this new focus has integrated well with UCSB’s and the UC system’s interest in Data Science as well as priorities of industry and government agencies across the country and internationally.

The underlying new paradigm behind knowledge graphs is transformative in the sense that it enables the retrieval, integration, and reuse, of highly diverse datasets across the sciences and (digital) humanities on the level of individual data records, not merely metadata. The Center’s current research on open knowledge networks, for instance, combines soil health data with historic slave trade records to gain a holistic understanding of food systems and their sustainability under social and environmental stress.

Following the insight that understanding when and where things happen is key to understanding why they happened or will happen, our vision is to demonstrate how (geographic) space and time act as convergence catalysts to integrate heterogeneous data across domains to answer complex social and scientific questions that cannot be answered from within one domain alone. Our mission is to develop spatially and temporally explicit Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques for the creation, filtering, linkage, synthesis, prediction, and forecasting of information in large-scale, cross-domain knowledge graphs. A specific application we are pursuing is to provide contextualized, real-time insights for supply chains across different sectors. We aim at demonstrating how—in a densely connected world—this type of application requires data from sources as diverse as transportation, health, climate change, communication, and historical accounts.

Beyond that, the Center’s research and educational activities include:

A full listing of our activities is summarized in the Center for Spatial Studies Activity Reports, which were published in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2020.

We strongly encourage you to discuss your research and educational projects with us, to further our collective understanding and awareness of the importance of spatial thinking and computing across the disciplines.