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Computing Our Way to Smart Cities

The recent Supercomputing Conference (SC17) included a very interesting plenary panel about Smart Cities. It's now available online, and I highly recommend watching it.

We live in the "Century of the City" because of the massive global migration to urban areas. The "smart city" notion is one that recognizes the influence of technology to create more opportunity for citizens and to address the challenges of providing city services across a heterogeneous population.

The federal government funded the Smart Cities Initiative in 2015 to improve the quality of life for residents using urban informatics and other technologies. At SC17, Seattle's Chief Technology Officer, Michael Mattmiller, spoke about Seattle being "Open by Preference," making data publicly available to encourage the development of innovative solutions that improve our quality of life.

He said that unlocking the promise of a smart, data-driven city requires a focus on data governance, consistent tools that facilitate cross-department collaboration, and educating the public on how to leverage the city's resources. It's been said that "data is the new asphalt.".

(Note: The recording starts a little abruptly with Mattmiller speaking, and there's a 42-second issue starting 84 seconds into the video. I attended the session live, and I can assure you that you're not missing anything critical.).

The plenary was moderated by Charlie Catlett, Director, Urban Center for Computation and Data, at Argonne National Laboratory. In addition to Mattmiller, the speakers included Pete Beckman, Co-Director, Northwestern Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering, at Argonne National Laboratory, and Debra Lam, Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, at Georgia Tech University.


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