Balaji Prabhakar: 2015 The Computer Science 50th Anniversary - In Service to the World


April 28, 2015
Location: McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center

Speaker: Balaji Prabhakar, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering & Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Urban Engines

Talk Title: The Data Science of Getting from Here to There

The public transit and roadway systems of large metropolitan areas transport millions of passengers in fleets of trains, buses and passenger cars to work, home, schools, entertainment and shopping. In addition, goods are moved every day on the same networks. The performance of these systems is critical for the orderly functioning of the city both in terms of human movement and the movement of goods. Currently, there isn't a detailed monitoring system or a "dashboard" of Urban Mobility; a system that answers fine-grained questions such as: what is the crowding at a train station? how occupied are buses in the peak time on a particular route? how can the available supply of transport capacity be better used to address daily demand as well as the demand on exceptional days (such as rallies and severe weather events).

In this talk, we present a big data dashboard for urban mobility, describe its capabilities for operational and planning purposes, and as a learning system.


Balaji Prabhakar is Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Urban Engines. His research interests are in computer networks; notably, in designing algorithms for the Internet and for Data Centers. Recently, he has been interested in Societal Networks: networks vital for society's functioning, such as transportation, electricity and recycling systems. He has been involved in developing and deploying incentive mechanisms to move commuters to off-peak times so that congestion, fuel and pollution costs are reduced. He has been a Terman Fellow at Stanford University and a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

He has received the CAREER award from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Erlang Prize from the INFORMS Applied Probability Society, the Rollo Davidson Prize, and delivered the Lunteren Lectures. He is the recipient of the inaugural IEEE Innovation in Societal Infrastructure Award which recognizes "significant technological achievements and contributions to the establishment, development and proliferation of innovative societal infrastructure systems. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Future Urban Mobility Initiative of the World Economic Forum. He is a co-recipient of several best paper awards.