Student Research Oppportunities - Fall 2020

There are a number of open opportunities for undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students at the University of Toronto to get involved with research in the Fall 2020 semester. Please see below for details and email me at soden at cs dot toronto dot edu to discuss.

Speculative Design and Climate Change

Participate in a systematic review of speculative design projects related to climate change adaptation or disaster mitigation. Assess questions such as: who is doing the speculating? What kinds of ideas are proposed? What perspectives are privileged? What is accomplished? Contribute to the use of speculative design to making communities safer.

Suitability - Undergrad/Master’s/PhD

Research Methods - literature review, text analysis

Public Safety During Tropical Storms

Participate in an ongoing research project to help the US National Hurricane Center reimagine how it communicates hurricane risk to the public. Use prototyping, programming, and user evaluation approaches to develop and test new tools and approaches for conveying risk and safety information to multiple public audiences.

Suitability - Undergrad/Master’s/PhD

Research Methods - Prototyping, software development (light), human-centered design

Value Conflicts in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) platform is the largest repository of open geographic data in the world and is maintained by thousands of individual contributors, many of whom are volunteers. It has become a core element of the information infrastructure used by international humanitarian responders as well as a major area for investment by large technology companies like Apple and Facebook. This project will analyze, through qualitative and/or quantitative methods, some of the conflicts that have arisen in the community as a result of the rapid growth of the platform.

Suitability - Undergrad/Master’s/PhD

Research Methods - Dependent upon student interest

Historical Research in Open Source Earthquake Risk Modeling Software

Support a research project that is assessing the history of HAZUS, an open source earthquake risk analysis tool. Conduct interviews, analyze the codebase. Surface key design decisions, paths not taken, and alternative approaches. Contribute to the understanding of earthquake risk modeling and the role of historical approaches in human-computer interaction research and design.

Suitability - Master’s/PhD

Research Methods - Interviewing, text analysis, software analysis

Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Risk Management

The use of artificial intelligence, and in particular machine learning when compared with computer vision technologies to rapidly assess large amounts of satellite imagery, has become an area of exploration for understanding the risks of disaster and evaluating their impacts. At the same time, AI has come under significant criticism in other domains such as search, facial recognition, and criminal justice for systematically reproducing social inequalities. This project will support ongoing research with experts in machine learning and disaster risk management into the benefits, potential harms, and best practices for the use of AI in disasters.

Suitability - Undergrad/Master’s/PhD

Research Methods - Interviewing, text analysis, literature review