Constantine Kontokosta and Christopher Tull Win Best Paper Award At D4GX 2015

D4GX Mini

On September 28, the NYC Media Lab – Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) awarded First Prize Paper to both Constantine Kontokosta, CUSP’s Deputy Director of Academics & Assistant Professor, and Christopher Tull, a student and Research Assistant at CUSP. D4GX’s evaluation team was impressed by their developed use of NYC open data and online mapping tools that culminated in their paper, “Web-Based Visualization and Prediction of Urban Energy Use from Building Benchmarking Data”.

The researchers were also granted an opportunity to speak on Wednesday September 30, at the Stata+Hadoop World conference Solution Showcase, one of the largest data science conferences to convene this year.

The Data for Good Exchange is part of Bloomberg’s advocacy initiatives, which uses data science and human capital to examine and find solutions for society’s core issues.

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CUSP Student Life

At the Center for Urban Science and Progress, students share skills from a range of disciplines to find solutions by putting cities under the microscope. Our students engage in vibrant and diverse programs that merge academia and urbanization as study and as lifestyle. By mixing these domains, students at NYU CUSP have the unique opportunity to learn and help pioneer solutions for life in the city.

Education at NYU CUSP

At NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, its intellectual community engages city challenges with a diversity of tools, chief among which is the combination of urban informatics techniques and real life experience in New York City. The result is a unique approach to education programming that provides Urban Scientists with the resources and partnerships necessary to drive forward the challenges of the  field, making cities better places to live.

CUSP is Here!

The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) is a unique public-private research center that uses New York City as its laboratory and classroom to help cities around the world become more productive, livable, equitable, and resilient. CUSP observes, analyzes, and models cities to optimize outcomes, prototype new solutions, formalize new tools and processes, and develop new expertise/experts. These activities will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of “Urban Informatics.”

Congratulations Class of 2015!

Our congratulations to the second cohort of MS graduates on your commencement. CUSP is proud to send onwards this group of accomplished individuals and exceptionally fine urban informaticists. Here’s to you, Class of 2015!

Julia Lane joins NYU as Full-time Faculty Member



In May 2015, Julia Lane joined NYU as a Professor of Practice at CUSP. She also serves as a Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Provostial Fellow for Innovation Analytics.

Dr. Lane has had leadership roles in a number of policy and data science initiatives at her previous appointments, which include Senior Managing Economist at the American Institutes for Research; Program Director of the Science of Science & Innovation Policy program at the National Science Foundation; Senior Vice President and Director, Economics Department at NORC (National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago; Director of the Employment Dynamics Program at the Urban Institute; Senior Research Fellow at the U.S. Census Bureau; and Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at American University. Please click here for additional information on her professional achievements.

As part of the CUSP team, Dr. Lane will bring significant experience and expertise in building the CUSP Data User Facility, and in cultivating the social science community to strengthen our engagement with new researchers. Dr. Lane is stepping down from her role on CUSP’s External Advisory Board (EAB) where she provided valuable insight and expertise.

Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good reviewed in Science

Earlier this year, CUSP, along with the American Statistical Association and its Privacy and Confidentiality subcommittee and the Research Data Centre of the German Federal Employment Agency, sponsored a book about the rise of big data and the privacy issues that brings up. The book, Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement, published by Cambridge University Press and launched on July 16 at the New York Academy of Sciences, is an accessible summary of the important legal, economic, and statistical thinking that frames the many privacy issues associated with the use of big data – along with practical suggestions for protecting privacy and confidentiality that can help to guide practitioners.

On November 25, Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement was reviewed by Science Magazine, which said the book “presents a collection of essays from a variety of perspectives, in chapters by some of the heavy hitters in the privacy debate, who make a convincing case that the current framework for dealing with consumer privacy does not adequately address issues posed by big data.”

The full review is available on Science Magazine’s website.

Claudio Silva receives IEEE’s 2014 Visualization Technical Achievement Award

Claudio Silva

On November 11, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) presented its 2014 Visualization and Technical Achievement Award to Claudio T. Silva, Head of Disciplines at CUSP and professor of Computer Science and Engineering at NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering.

The award, one of the highest honors given by the IEEE Computer Science Society’s Technical Committee on Visualization and Graphics (VGTC), recognizes Silva’s seminal advances to geometric computing for visualization and contributions to the development of the VisTrails data exploration system. The committee also cited Silva’s participation in various multidisciplinary projects.

VisTrails systematically maintains provenance for the data exploration process by capturing all the steps researchers follow in the course of an experiment—much like document-tracking applications in Microsoft Word and Google Docs track changes to a document. Tracking provenance is essential because that information allows a researcher to accurately reproduce his or her own results or the results of others, even if they involve hundreds of parameters and complex data sets.

“Consider that when a researcher is engaged in an exploratory process, working with simulations, data analysis, and visualization, for example, very little is repeated during the analysis process; change is the norm, and new workflows are constantly being generated,” Silva explained. “VisTrails manages these rapidly evolving workflows. To make a simple analogy, using it is like having someone in the lab watching over your shoulder and taking concise notes.”

“Clauio Silva has blazed a trail of innovation in visualization that has strongly influenced many researchers, including myself,” said Amitabh Varshney, director of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee and a professor of computer science and the director of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland. “One of the reasons his work has had such a significant impact is because it combines elegant foundational research with real-world applications. This award is a well-deserved recognition of Claudio’s illustrious accomplishments and stunning impact.”

2014 AT&T Transit Tech Developer Day at CUSP

November 22, 2014 – November 22, 2014

2 MetroTech Center

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The 2014 AT&T Transit Tech Developer Day App is an opportunity to launch the development of your 2014 MTA App Quest entry. This day will allow you to:

  1. Hear from MTA experts about this year’s App Quest and the new datasets and API released for 2014.
  2. Work on the early stage of your concept with access to industry and data experts.
  3. Sign up for in-person or virtual mentoring sessions with experts from the MTA and its partners, including AT&T and New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).
  4. Build your team or join a team through a Teammate Match session.

Event Program:

Time Activity Location
8:30 AM Doors Open for Check-In/Registration  
Breakfast Available Pantry
9:00 AM Announcements Lecture Hall
9:05 AM Event Kickoff and Welcome Lecture Hall
9:12 AM About 2014 MTA AT&T App Quest Lecture Hall
9:30 AM Highlight:  New Datasets and GTFS Lecture Hall
9:50 AM Highlight:  Accessibility Track Lecture Hall
10:10 AM Highlight:  Beacon Q&A Lecture Hall
10:20 AM Overview:  Prizes Lecture Hall
10:25 AM Teammate Match (note:  teams may also start work) Lecture Hall
11:00 AM All teams at work Town Hall East
& West
12:00 PM LUNCH & Presentation Schedule Signups Pantry
1:00 PM Office Hours Open

  • MTA Team (Room 820)
  • Prof. Kaan Ozbay, NYU (Room 810)
  • Alex Muro, Lead Developer, AVAIL (Albany Visualization And Informatics Lab, University of Albany, SUNY (Room 818, by Skype)
  • Richard Murby, Developer Evangelist, ChallengePost (Room 827)
Rooms 810, 818, 820, 827
5:15 PM Winners Announced Lecture Hall


CUSP Research Seminar Series: Dr. Aaditya Rangan

October 29, 2014 – October 29, 2014

1 MetroTech Center

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A common problem in data analysis – including machine learning and genomics – is to detect, within a large array, small submatrices which are ‘structured’ in some way.Such submatrices, called ‘biclusters’ can represent a subset of features shared across a subset of images, or a subsets of genes that are coexpressed across a subset of the patient population. In this talk I will discuss some of the challenges associated with biclustering, and provide an algorithm that overcomes most of these challenges.


Dr. Aaditya V Rangan is an Assistant Professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU. He received his PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests lie in large – scale scientific modeling of physical, biological and neurobiological phenomena and the development of efficient numerical methods and related analysis.