Events Calendar

YINS Distinguished Lecturer: Balaji Prabhakar (Stanford)

YINS Distinguished Lecturer: Balaji Prabhakar (Stanford)

Event time: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Yale Institute for Network Science See map
17 Hillhouse Avenue, 3rd floor
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

YINS Distinguished Lecturer: “Learning and Influencing Commuter Behavior with Data and Dollars”

Speaker: Balaji Prabhakar (Stanford)
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University
Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Urban Engines

Abstract: The world consists of many interesting things that move: people go to work, home, school, and shop in public transit systems, cars and taxis; goods move on roads, over water or by air each day; and food travels a long distance to meet its consumer. Thus, massive movement processes are underway in the world every day and it is critical to ensure their safe, timely and efficient operation. Towards this end, low-cost sensing and acquisition of the movement data is being achieved: from GPS devices, RFID and barcode scanners, to smart commuter cards and smartphones, snapshots of the movement process are becoming available.

In this talk, I will present a system for stitching together these snapshots and reconstructing urban mobility at a very fine-grained level. The system provides an interactive dashboard and a querying engine for answering questions such as: what is the crowding at a train station? where’re packages held up and how can their delivery be sped up? do New York Knicks fans tip taxi rides more when their team wins vs when it loses?  I will also describe how we can influence movement processes using “nudge engines”, engines which incentivize commuters to shift their travel patterns using monetary incentives and personalized offers.  Nudge Engines have been deployed world-wide: to incentivize commuters at Infosys, Bangalore, Stanford University (in a DoT-funded project), Singapore Metro, and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit); it has also been used to incentivize employees of Accenture-USA to undertake more physical activity.  

Bio: Balaji Prabhakar is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, and Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Urban Engines which was recently acquired by Google in Sep 2016.  His research interests are in cloud computing, Internet algorithms and, since 2008, in societal networks, especially transportation networks.  He has been awarded the Alfred Sloan Fellowship, the Erlang Prize of the INFORMS Applied Probability Society, the Rollo Davidson Prize awarded by the University of Cambridge to young scientists in probability theory and related fields, and has delivered the Lunteren Lectures.  He is the inaugural recipient of the IEEE Innovation in Social Infrastructure Award which recognizes “significant technological achievements and contributions to the establishment, development and proliferation of innovative societal infrastructure systems.  He is an IEEE Fellow and serves on the Future Urban Mobility Initiative of the World Economic Forum.