The Match Game: Measuring the National Impact of Nurse-Family Partnership


There are thousands of organizations around the country that are dedicated to helping people in need. Yet despite those good intentions, few of those organizations are scientifically rigorous in evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in order to make changes to maximize positive impact in as many people as possible. The reasons are easy to understand: [...]

The Match Game: Measuring the National Impact of Nurse-Family Partnership2018-05-12T14:08:47-05:00

Fellow profile: Nathan Leiby


The core goal of the Data Science for Social Good fellowship is to connect technically skilled people to social problems. For Nathan Leiby, this is already familiar territory. Leiby is a computer science graduate from Harvard University and has spent the past few years working at the intersection of health and technology. He’s traveled from [...]

Fellow profile: Nathan Leiby2018-05-12T14:08:48-05:00

The Dark Matter of Public Policy Data (Part 2): Statistical Solutions


Part one of this series talked about the “dark matter” of public policy data -- the invisible factors not present in a dataset that can distort an evaluation of a program’s effectiveness. In this post, we break down some of the statistical methods the field of econometrics has developed to grapple with this issue. A [...]

The Dark Matter of Public Policy Data (Part 2): Statistical Solutions2018-05-12T14:08:49-05:00

Ushahidi: Machine Learning for Human Rights


"2-car acc @ State & Lake, both drivers injred" That short, hastily typed text message or tweet contains a lot of information that police, emergency responders, news organizations and drivers could use. A human observer could quickly identify that it refers to an auto accident, a medical emergency, and a street intersection in Chicago. But [...]

Ushahidi: Machine Learning for Human Rights2018-05-12T14:08:49-05:00

Cook County Land Bank, Part 1: The Problem


Boarded up buildings and overgrown lots have plagued Chicago's low-income neighborhoods for decades. Over the past five years, however, vacant and abandoned properties have spread beyond the inner city and into the suburbs, disrupting formerly stable working and middle class communities and prompting the creation of a county-wide land bank, a new tool for fighting [...]

Cook County Land Bank, Part 1: The Problem2018-05-12T14:08:50-05:00

Why Data Science Needs Openness


I cringe a little at the term data science. It conveys all the hype and false-promise you'd expect of an occupation recently described as the "sexiest job of the 21st century". It's all-encompassing, yet it manages to describe little in its vagueness. The ambiguity of its definition will probably resolve itself in time. But the [...]

Why Data Science Needs Openness2018-05-12T14:08:51-05:00

Between the Buzzwords, A Different Route for Tech


Last week's Techweek Chicago event had all the trappings of your typical tech conference. Sprawled out over a floor of the city's massive Merchandise Mart was a maze of exhibitor booths luring attendees to learn about their new dating service or augmented reality app with tchotchkes and loud music. Three stages offered a full slate [...]

Between the Buzzwords, A Different Route for Tech2015-12-06T23:11:29-06:00