Course Blog

A place for announcements, observations, and to sing the praise of your work!

Byte 2 Results

posted Feb 12, 2017, 5:52 PM by Jen Mankoff   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 6:15 PM ]

I am going through your byte 2 submissions, and as usually I am enjoying the different data sets and analyses tremendously. Here are some highlights:

An exploration of the relationship between rural/urban living and life expectancy which demonstrates very nice use of a variety of charts to highlighting issues with data quality. This assignment stands out as well because of its use of additional data to test the correctness of the data set, and because it is exploring a concrete hypothesis. 

An exploration of traffic deaths, age and substance abuse. This assignment stands out because of its thoroughness in answering a variety of data quality questions, its use of an additional data set to check things, and the careful attention to website design. 

This person explores the first age of marriage in different countries worldwide. What I want to point out about this assignment is the creative approach to presenting the analysis of data quality, which makes use of embedded google slides. Also outstanding about this assignment is the depth of the analysis, and the fact that the data is being modified in response to the findings about issues with missing data. 

Other topics / interesting data sets:

Byte 1 Results

posted Jan 27, 2017, 4:44 PM by Jen Mankoff

The Byte 1 results are in, and fascinating. From Crime in Pittsburgh (and the relationship between poverty and crime) to the relationship between planned parent hood funding and teen births,you are asking and exploring interesting questions. One person looked at general educational prowess around the world. Another at UFO sightings by season. Another at ridership of Pittsburgh transit. Two bytes looked a car accidents (one and two). One at air quality.

Two bytes are worth calling out because they begin to look forward to things that we will do more of as we progress through the course. One student explored bike ridership by gender, age, and length. There is a nice example in this byte of finding a potential problem with the data with regard to timezone (or an interesting unexpected finding). Also this student clearly explored the full range of google charts and even made use of an interactive one to support data exploration.

Another Byte made use of the web format to do a great job of not only showing data but explaining it, telling a story with it, and did so beautifully by leveraging bootstrap to help.  This byte looks at the relationship between traffic crashes, age, location, and more.

One thing that we should perhaps emphasize in future years right from Byte 1 is the opportunity to make sure you are accountable by clearly stating where you got your data (and maybe even linking to it). Kudos to those of you who did this! Also linking to the class and so on is great.

2017 Student Poll

posted Jan 13, 2017, 4:25 PM by Jen Mankoff

2017 Poll

SUDS Competition

posted Jan 13, 2017, 7:39 AM by Jen Mankoff

If you don't know about SUDS, you should definitely get on their mailing list (and check out their website. Here's a competition I hope our class will be submitting to!

Hope you're all resting, relaxing, and reminiscing on the great data projects you completed last semester-- but I hope you'll also take a moment to consider submitting that work (and next semester's projects) as a SUDS Blog Featured Project!

Past projects have received widespread attention (some even went viral), and are one of the best ways to highlight the amazing work we're all doing, through SUDS and in our personal capacities. And it's a great way to translate your school projects into something you can publicly link to in a portfolio or resume. 

As a friendly and fun incentive, we're also continuing the "SUDS Top Data Project" award (with prize!) for all projects (including previously featured ones) submitted by April 1stBut earlier submissions are welcome and appreciated, as we post on a rolling basis. 

The submission guidelines are attached, or located on our website. Please send any questions and submit your student research projects to

Final Projects!

posted May 9, 2016, 8:34 AM by Jen Mankoff

Hi all,

I just want to share the URLs for your wonderful batch of final projects. They are:

Bus bunching 

Heart disease analysis 

Hunger Games

Hazelwood Invester Ownership

Wikipedia Writer

Bon Yinzers!

The Crime Game



Interesting Fellowship

posted Apr 19, 2016, 3:17 AM by Jen Mankoff

The Technology For Impact Fellowship is a San Francisco Bay Area, part-time, volunteer-basedsummer opportunity for technology students to build software solutions for nonprofits. Our team has selected 4 projects for 2016, out of a pool of over 15 nonprofits who applied. These projects are unique because of the opportunity they present to students to create massive value for the nonprofit and it's constituents.

The TFI Fellowship provides students:
  1. An opportunity to make an massive impact with a nonprofit
  2. A unique combination of real world responsibility, leadership and tech experience
  3. Mentorship from amazing engineers at companies like Facebook, Airbnb, Google, LinkedIn and Salesforce
  4. Networking with TFI advisors and guest speakers
 We have some unbelievable projects lined up for this Summer. You can take a look and students can apply at: 

Upcoming Metro21 talk on urban sensing seen as fitness tracking

posted Apr 7, 2016, 10:27 AM by Jen Mankoff


The Metro21 Distinguished Speaker Series is pleased to announce an upcoming seminar on urban sensing and analytics led by Charlie Catlett, founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data in Chicago. You won’t want to miss this event!


Title: Instrumenting Cities: The Array of Things and Open Data

Time/Date: Tuesday, April 1212:00-1:00PM

Location: Hamburg Hall 1000

RSVP here:

Lunch provided


Charlie Catlett from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratories will be discussing his most recent project, the Array of Things (, a scalable urban sensing project that will serve as a "fitness tracker" for a city to collect real-time data on city's environment and infrastructure, and has been featured in USA Today, Wired, and Bloomberg View.


Cities are increasingly publishing data about their operations while also internally using data to improve the effectiveness and quality of services through optimization, predictive analytics, and other methods. This represents new opportunities for collaboration between cities, national laboratories, and universities in areas ranging from scalable data infrastructure to tools for data analytics, along with challenges such as replicability of solutions between cities, integrating and validating data for scientific investigation, and protecting privacy. For many urban questions, new data sources will be required with greater spatial and/or temporal resolution, driving innovation in the use of sensor in mobile devices as well as embedded sensing infrastructure in the built environment. At the same time, new capabilities such as connected autonomous vehicles, implementing deep learning in concert with urban sensors, or augmenting mobile applications will require computation embedded in infrastructure. Catlett will discuss the work that Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago are doing in partnership with the City of Chicago and other cities through the Urban Center for Computation and Data, focusing on key scalable data infrastructure, data analytics, and resilient autonomous urban-scale embedded systems.

Beautiful and interesting interactive visualizations

posted Mar 29, 2016, 10:18 AM by Jen Mankoff -- you have to go to the website to get the true effect!

Visualization Byte Results

posted Mar 20, 2016, 12:52 PM by Jen Mankoff   [ updated Mar 20, 2016, 1:29 PM ]

Some neat things you did in the visualization byte, showing off advanced things I hope to see in the final project as well!


posted Mar 19, 2016, 9:23 AM by Jen Mankoff

This is from a good friend of mine who does really cool work in sustainability and energy use:

My department at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is expanding again, and we’re hiring a couple of Energy Data Analysts: developers to crunch big data in Python to quantify energy efficiency. We have lots of great data and work with technical experts in building science, plus the office has a view of Lake Champlain!


Please share the job posting with any students or others that might fit the bill; ideally we’re looking for a few years of work experience, so recent alums would be great, but we’d certainly consider applications from highly productive grad students, too.

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