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CI x CIE: Computation Institute Startups Make Innovation Fund Finals

By Rob Mitchum // April 3, 2015

Since opening last year, the Chicago Innovation Exchange has established several points of contact with the Computation Institute, supporting new businesses such as Maryellen Giger’s Quantitative Insights and Mike Wilde’s With yesterday’s announcement of the finalists for the spring round of the UChicago Innovation Fund, more CI/CIE partnerships may be on the horizon, as four of the six teams include at least one CI affiliate.

The projects reflect the broad range of CI research, ranging from cloud-based scientific collaboration and medical data analysis to urban sensing and data collection tools for the field. Together, they nicely combine both the CI’s mission of accelerating science around the globe with the CIE’s goal of translating scholarly ideas and technologies to the business world.

“We continue to be impressed by the high caliber of ideas and technologies being developed across campus, particularly the innovation happening in data, analytics, collaboration, and healthcare,” said John Flavin, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

Below are brief summaries of the CI-affiliated projects, written by the CIE’s Nikki Kidd.

Dharma Humanitarian Solutions – Thomas Plagge & Andrew Means, DSSG; Matthew Gee, DSSG & UrbanCCD

Dharma Humanitarian Solutions builds tools for gathering, managing, and analyzing health data in challenging environments. Its suite of tools, including a mobile data gathering application, are specifically designed to work in limited-connectivity and security-sensitive environments. Field data is gathered using mobile devices, with no internet connection required, and transferred to a base workstation for aggregation and analysis. The interface is designed to be extraordinarily simple, and multilingual support is included.

Team: Thomas Plagge; Andrew Means, Harris School of Public Policy Alumnus; Michael Roytman; Matthew Gee, Harris School of Public Policy Research Fellow; and Jesse Berns

Inscites – Ben Blaiszik, Globus

Inscites leverages recent advances in web technologies to create a cloud-based collaboration service for scientists. Inscites enables modern researchers to perform analyses, store knowledge, and collaborate in a data-centric manner, regardless of geographic distance. This is achieved through deployment of real-time remote collaboration tools, attachment of streams of communication directly to the data (i.e. individual points on a graph or onto area of an image), and association of searchable annotations with datasets, images, molecular structures, electronic notes, files, laboratory protocols, and more. Through this new service, Inscites aims to streamline scientific collaboration and empower over 5 million researchers worldwide.

Team: Jason Goldman and Ben Blaiszik, Computation Institute

Litmus Health – Samuel Volchenboum, CI Fellow & Faculty

New types of patient data make it feasible to decipher quality-of-life via mobile and connected devices, smart medical instruments, consumer and clinical wearables, and a wide variety of sensors, not to mention social media, diary and journaling applications, real-time Q+A via push notifications and more. Litmus is the only patient analytics platform to unite clinical and non-clinical data in a single, consistent stack. Its unique infrastructure makes it possible for researchers to accommodate new types of patient data in their investigations, from an ever-expanding variety of sources, therefore dramatically improving the economics and quality of drug testing.

Team: Samuel Volchenboum, MD, PhD, MS, Biological Sciences Division; Daphne Kis; Shawn O’Keefe; Josh Jones-Dilworth; and David Rubin, MD, Biological Sciences Division

Urban Center for Computation and Data – Charlie Catlett, Peter Beckman, Kate Kusiak Galvin, UrbanCCD

The Urban Center for Computation and Data is building a network of experimental sensors, known as the Array of Things (AoT). The urban environment, infrastructure, and activity data collected by the network will be readily adaptable to local policy/need and will enable researchers, residents, software developers, and scientists to collaborate to maker cities more livable, healthier, and efficient. AoT has captured the interest of industry and cities because the platform is open and all data will be freely published in almost real time to support analysis, decision support, and new services delivered via mobile devices or through other vehicles.

Team: Charlie Catlett, Computation Institute; Peter Beckman, Computation Institute; Kate Kusiak Galvin, Computation Institute

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