The focus of Harvard CRCS is to advance computer science research that serves the public interest by prioritizing topics in conservation and public health. CRCS researchers use computing tools and research methods in Artificial Intelligence to help augment decision making on a variety of topics related to health, social services, and wildlife conservation. Problems of prediction, identification, and planning help to leverage and optimize existing resources. Public health topics of current interest include mobile health delivery, tuberculosis medication adherence, COVID 19 spread, suicidality and metal health topics.
Project spotlight: Boston Unemployment Map
Action Boston for Community Development (ABCD) and CRCS researchers worked together to develop a visualization tool to identify and show unemployment among racial and ethnic groups. With 60 years of community action and neighborhood engagement in Boston, ABCD is interested in enhancing their workforce development and support programs for job seekers. More specifically, they see that innovative technologies will allow them to make strategic decisions in allocating resources including outreach efforts.
Using a user-centered and iterative design approach, the ABCD and CRCS decided to develop a visualization tool that shows unemployment disparities in Boston at sub-neighborhood levels. This tool allows them to see parts of neighborhoods in the city where there is disproportionate unemployment among Black and Latino women and men.
While this tool provides the insights required by ABCD to make strategic decisions, the CRCS team pointed out that the tool is also emphasizing the social injustice issues that continue to linger in Boston. The unemployment disparities are more pervasive within the neighborhoods where Black and Latino households live. Therefore, without more targeted interventions, these employment disparities constrain Black and Brown people from achieving economic mobility.
Optimal resource allocation for mobile health clinics based on data-driven demand prediction
Mobile clinics are a viable solution to fight against both the COVID-19 pandemic and health disparities. This project aims at helping mobile clinics to intelligently allocate their resources using prediction and optimization approaches. In collaboration with researchers and practitioners at The Family Van, a local non-profit mobile health clinic, and Harvard Medical School, CRCS researchers proposed an AI-based demand prediction method to help forecast the future demand of mobile clinics. Next steps in this collaboration include discussions about how the proposed demand prediction may be deployed to help the clinic’s daily operations.