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Senior Vice Chancellor's Research Seminar series spotlighted Project Tycho and open access

van Panhuis - Project Tycho: Open Access to a Century of Infectious Disease Surveillance in the United StatesOn April 12, 2013, Dr. Wilbert Van Panhuis, a VMI investigator at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was the invited speaker for the University’s Senior Vice Chancellor’s Research Seminar 2013. Dr. Van Panhuis spoke on “Project Tycho: Open Access to a Century of Infectious Disease Surveillance in the United States.” Through support from the MIDAS and the VMI projects, Dr. Van Panhuis and his team have created a public health database (www.tycho.pitt.edu) of infectious diseases reported weekly in the U.S. since 1888 and analyzed these data to quantitatively describe disease control in the U.S. over the last 120 years. Some data sets have become available for analysis leading to improved disease control strategies, serving as powerful examples of opportunities provided by historical “raw” public health data.

Calling all undergraduates:

Data  Palooza!  2013

Project Tycho (www.tycho.pitt.edu) at the University of Pittsburgh has digitized 120 years of weekly US disease data. We're organizing a competition for undergraduate students to use all their skills and creativity to answer a research question using data sets from the Tycho database. The data sets will be made available especially for this competition. This research program will demonstrate the enormous capacity among undergraduate students for qualitative and quantitative data analysis and also the great potential of public health data. Students can provide contributions in three categories: 1) historical context of a disease pattern, 2) quantitative or qualitative visualization of a disease pattern, 2) quantitative analysis of a disease. The competition will start on May 20th and will end by July 26th. An awards committee will review all contributions and the best contribution in each category that meets a standard set of award criteria will receive the Data Palooza 2013 Scholarship Award Certificate and $1,000 USD.

If you are interested, please register at www.midas.pitt.edu/datapalooza before May 20th, 5:00pm EDT. Good luck!

Pittsburgh coders contribute tools to the MIDAS network

Photos courtesy of Doug Roberts

The MISSION Hackathon in Las Vegas focused on developing software tools that could benefit the MIDAS network. Computer programmers and other software developers collaborated intensively on software projects.

In just two days, The ITR Synthia system was interfaced with the Pittsburgh Apollo system. Two models, one from the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and one from the ITR were ported to Argonne's Repast framework. They will be subsequently ported to Repast HPC in preparation for running very large systems. New data extraction tools were constructed for data mining (e.g. of Twitter data) and network Analysis and Visualization.

Continued collaboration between team members is facilitated after the event. Hackathon-type events foster the type of synergies that are possible when groups of talented individuals join forces with similar groups across the MIDAS network and together work with a singleness of purpose: the advancement of our field through the efficient use and reuse of the technologies that we create.

Modeling and decision support workshop at NACCHO Public Health Preparedness Summit was SOLD OUT

Irene Eckstrand speaking at modeling and decision support workshop
Speaking: Irene Eckstrand, MIDAS Project officer at NIGMS/NIH;
immediately to the right: Dean Burke.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Alexander of RTI International

A full day workshop on modeling resources for decision support and disaster planning was presented to a sold-out audience at the 2013 Public Health Preparedness Summit. To read the workshop description, please visit http://www.phprep.org/2013/bringing-modeling-to-your-public-health-department-why-you-should-listen-decision-support-and-modeling-resources-for-states-and-local-public-health-departments/.

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