SOC Professor Receives Google Award

February 17, 2015

The award comes with more than $57,000. “This is a very competitive award,” Li said. “It not only gives you money for research but exposure to Google researchers and engineers and all the other faculty members who get this award from different universities across the world.”

For about a year, Li has been developing an online platform that allows researchers to analyze heterogeneous spatial and temporal datasets, even if they are in different formats. In his Google proposal, called “Spatial-Temporal Online Analytics with Concept Enriched Text,” Li is trying to examine spatial temporal analytics over large datasets that have short text messages. For example, a scientist could analyze weather data with Twitter posts to see how people respond to the change in weather. The platform can display initial results immediately, Li said.

“From the beginning, we give you feedback and an estimation for the analytical results,” he said. “The longer you wait, the more accurate the results.”

The engine can work with any kind of database, including transportation data or sensor data, to social media data such as Instagram posts, Li said. “We really want to build a platform that’s open to anybody who wants to get their own data into it,” he said.

The Google Research Awards are given out to university faculty in support of research in areas ranging from computational neuroscience and human-computer interaction to security, privacy and database management.

Google has not yet announced how many researchers from this group have received the bi-annual award. Last summer, 110 proposals from 44 countries were funded out of 722 applications.

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