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Tech whizzes come up with solutions to help solve homelessness

Some of the brightest brains from around the world have gathered in the UK to discuss ways to solve societal issues such as homelessness and foster care.

The innovations came out of a 12-week summer programme which saw data science students team up with charities to help find solutions to the challenges they face.

Some of the highlights included working with a charity called Homeless Link to help improve their app StreetLink. The app enables users to tag someone sleeping on the street so that services can be sent to help them, but the charity was finding it hard to keep up with the alerts that came through. Thanks to the technology solution provided they have been able to find ways to review and prioritise the alerts more quickly.

The workshop was organised by the Alan Turing Institute and the University of Warwick through their Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) programme. The programme has originally masterminded by the University of Chicago in 2013 and this is the first time it has taken place in the UK.

Juergen Branke, Professor of Operational Research & Systems at Warwick Business School and one of the organisers, said:

This is the first time the Data Science for Social Good programme has been held in the UK and it has been wonderful to see these hugely intelligent and skilled data scientists work with charities and non-profit organisations who simply don’t have the resources to take advantage of the data they have. Indeed, many of them are overwhelmed by the data that is pouring into them each day.

Some of the other projects included using predictive data modelling to help prioritise independent foster agency inspections with Ofsted, and reducing the time it takes to get the latest medical research to medical professionals and decision makers.

The workshop culminated in a showcase event at The Shard in London where the solutions to presented to guests from across industry, government and academia.


Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash