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Projects

Fall 2010 C4G Class Projects

  1. Agro-dealer tracking with CARE Zambia: CARE is a leading humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty and social injustice. Our organization focuses on many issues but much of our work takes place in rural households and communities, working with farmers and others who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. CARE  opened its doors in Zambia in 1992 in response to a severe drought that was affecting the country. We now work across Zambia to improve the productivity and profitability of agriculture for the poor while also improving health care, particularly to stop the spread and respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS. Since 2009, CARE Zambia has been  implementing the three-year Agro Dealer Project (ADAPT).This initiative aims to create a network of 500 farmer stores in remote rural areas. This network of “Agro Dealers” serves to provide poor farmers with quality seeds, fertilizers and other necessary inputs at prices they can afford and in quantities that make sense for the size of their farms. With a strong focus on sustainability, CARE is ensuring that all of the Agro Dealers will be financially viable businesses capable of serving the community over the long haul. Through this model, CARE expects to improve the productivity of over 90,000 farmers and their households – over half a million people – enabling them to increase their incomes and care for their families. One key aspect of the ADAPT Project, the one around which this opportunity to work with Georgia Tech is focused, is the need to be able to quickly understand how Agro-Dealers are performing across the network. Knowing what is working, where and why is vital to increasing the rate at which CARE is able to identify, train and support Agro Dealers in new villages and districts across the country.
  2. Early childhood development knowledge management system with CARE: This project is a collaboration with the HIV/AIDS and Emerging Infectious Diseases Unit at CARE. They are requesting our assistance in scoping, designing, and developing an online knowledge management platform for Early Childhood Development and HIV/AIDS that can be used by practitioners globally, particularly in Africa and southern Asia. The platform would sit with the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development based in Toronto. They also request assistance in creating a decision making tree tool for practitioners in the field to use the Essential Package on HIV and ECD they are developing. Beyond the careful problem analysis, scoping and design activities this project will require students with skills in web development probably using a standard CMS tool such as Joomla based on PHP and MySQL. Additionally the system will have to accommodate users with limited and sporadic network connectivity (such as those connecting from Africa) and this will require targeted design innovations.
  3. Mental health indicator data collection system with Carter Center:The country of Liberia in western Africa has been ravaged by a civil war that ended in 2003 and destroyed many of the institutions and infrastructure of the country. The Carter Center has been involved in post-conflict rebuilding efforts in Liberia, at the invitation of the Liberian government. This spring, the Carter Center launched a new effort focused on Mental Health. Liberia has just one psychiatrist in the entire country, and only three psychiatric nurses, just one involved in teaching. The Mental Health Liberia project is an ambitious effort to build health provider capacity in the mental health area, reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions, and build support for family caregivers. Monitoring and evaluation of the efforts are a critical part of understanding what is working and documenting the extent of impact. This project involves developing tools and techniques for monitoring mental health and mental health services that can run on low-cost,  handheld devices suitable for disconnected operation and periodic synchronization with a central database. The primary project involves developing a first prototype monitoring tool, ideally somewhat independent of the final choice of handheld platform. The second project involves technology assessment, selecting the most interesting and
    practical platform choices and conducting an intensive assessment of suitability for the application.
  4. Health information exchange with Neighborhood Union Clinic and Grady Hospital: Grady Hospital and the Neighborhood Union clinic would like to create a health information exchange solution that would enable the  transfer of health records between the hospital and the clinic. The students would need to get to understand the nature of the people who seek services from the clinic and hospital (low income, typically uninsured) and would get firsthand experience with setting up a real medical records system and defining ways to make the exchange. Steve Rushing and Mark Braunstein are subject matter experts on HIE (they are writing the GA state plan for HIE) and can make all the right connections for the students.
  5. Tutorials and project creation for wearable computers in K-12 education with CoC ICE: The Institute for Computing Education works on bringing hands-on computing into middle schools and high schools to increase student interest in the field. ICE has Lilypad wearable computing devices and desires the development of tutorials and projects suitable for middle and high school students.
  6. Web portal re-design for Community Academic Service Entrepreneur competition
    (Campus Community Partnership Organization)
    : Community Academic Service Entrepreneur (CASE) grant is a student competition for an innovative and entrepreneurial community service project linked to the student’s academic discipline. The grant applications are submitted on our web portal http://www.servicebook.org that was originally designed by a team of students at Carnegie Mellon in a course offered by Dr. Randy Weinberg. This website and  database have served us well over the last few years but we are in need of a web 2.0 version. After having rapidly expanded to 27 US states and four continents, with much more expansion to come (e.g., our current focus is to expand our academic service learning program to all universities in Georgia), it would be timely and highly appreciated if a  C4G team could make this upgrade. The team would have access to all the relevant stakeholders and to users of the portal to guide their design and implementation.
  7. Vaccine tracking and vaccination record keeping (UNICEF – with ME/ID senior design)
    Advisor: Jon Colton (ME)
  8. TB medication adherence (PATH and CDC – with ME/ID senior design)
    Advisor: Jon Colton (ME)
  9. e-Learning for Eosinophil associated diseases with Emory: Eosinophil associated diseases are a group of rare disorders in which an immune blood cell, the eosinophil, causes inflammation and damage to a variety of organs. The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders, a 501c3 non-profit patient advocacy organization, is dedicated to advancing the understanding of eosinophil associated diseases, supporting development of new therapies,  improving the time to diagnosis, increasing patient and physician education, and expanding public awareness. APFED’s website, apfed.org, contains > 450 printable pages of patient information and receives more than 200,000 hits from more than 19,000 unique visitors per month. Since its inception, the APFED website has become the primary
    source of educational information for patients, physicians, and the general public internationally. To make educational opportunities more accessible, APFED plans to develop an e-learning center. The e-learning center will offer webinars on a variety of eosinophil associated diseases from the more common eosinophilic esophagitis to the rare  Hypereosinophilic Syndrome and Churg-Strauss syndrome. In addition to medical information from expert physicians in the field, we will offer information on coping with the day-to-day demands of these diseases for which few treatment options exist. In addition to providing access to critical education opportunities for the public, patients and families we plan to develop an on-line Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in the future for ongoing physician education.

Fall 2009 C4G Class Projects

  1. BLIS (Basic Laboratory Information System): The BLIS project is a joint initiative of Georgia Tech, the CDC and participating countries. Our project is intended to create a robust, customizable and easy-to-use system that track test samples, results and lab workflow. This is meant to be an effective and sustainable alternative to the currently used manual logs and paper-based approaches, and to be usable in a region with very little IT infrastructure and limited connectivity.
  2. Trends and Analyses for S2H: Our project was to design a data- and trend-analysis tool that would be helpful to the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. Our Georgia Tech team works closely with UWMA and provides additional support by making enhancements to the web-based Homeless Shelter Occupancy system to make it both more sustainable and more accurate.
  3. Zero Training Interface for Pathways: In our project, we redesigned client entry pages from the Pathways COMPASS system. COMPASS allows human services agencies to share client data with the aim of providing better client care. Our interface showed significant reductions in the number of mouse clicks and time required to enter a new client.
  4. Social Services Consumer Portal: Today, there are thousands of people in Atlanta who require social services, but applying to these services is time and effort intensive. Our project provides an online portal to allow users to view information about agencies and apply for services while enabling the agencies to generate dynamic pre-screening forms. This leads to a sustainable solution that will benefit both parties by streamlining the process for agencies to provide the services users need.
  5. MyMANET: Our project will enable reliable, self-configuring, infrastructure-free wireless networks for developing regions and disaster-affected areas. The core new technology is an open-source software solution for reliable, multi-hop wireless routing on commodity devices. Its focus on simplicity, interoperability and usability allows for rapid deployment.
  6. GeT Green: Working with the Georgia Tech Office of Solid Waste and Management, our GeT Green project sought to increase awareness of recycling on Tech’s campus while offering an alternative means to more efficiently collect, organize and aggregate data. The project overhauled the existing Recycling website, both to comply with Georgia Tech graphics standards and to provide an interactive means for visitors to visualize the collected data.
  7. OPEACE: Our project created a Learning Management System (LMS) for Operation P.E.A.C.E., a local Atlanta after-school program. The LMS we created meets the program’s requirements for report generation, grade management, attendance management and even student instruction through gaming. It tries to make education more fun for students by using interactive Flash games and animation tools for storytelling.
  8. World Food Garden: The World Food Garden (WFG) exists to inspire, connect and inform people all over the world who are interested in starting or maintaining their own food gardens. Over time the organization’s website has become cluttered, slow and flooded with usability concerns. Our group joined an existing development team of volunteers to redesign the WFG’s website, using sound design principles and sustainable technologies.
  9. ZAP Asthma Game: Asthma is a chronic lung disease that is widely misunderstood with many sources of misinformation. Our project is a Flash game, intended as a class supplement, that teaches kids and their parents about asthma triggers and proper practices to prevent asthma attacks. Primarily, the game emphasizes maintaining a high peak flow (breath amount) by avoiding asthma triggers and taking appropriate medication in the correct manner while encouraging kids to still go about their lives as normal children.
  10. Healthy People 2020: The Healthy People program provides statistically based objectives for public health. Our team is building a preliminary version of a social network to enable information sharing related to meeting the objectives. We hope to increase the flow of useful information to help support decision-making at state and county healthy departments.
  11. Vein 2 Vein: The need for safe blood is acute in developing regions with higher incidences of HIV and malaria. To ensure the quality of blood transfused and to maximize the utilization of available blood, V2V is a system that monitors the collection, testing and utilization of individual blood units from donation to transfusion; predicts future blood supply and demand based on a probabilistic model and past data; and suggests an allocation of blood to transfusion locations (hospitals/clinics) designed to maximize utilization.
  12. eRedistricting: Our project worked to develop a framework to support redistricting algorithms written for specific countries or administrative areas. We worked with the Georgia Tech eDemocracy group to develop a three-stage generic algorithm with specific rules for Australia and the United States. The algorithm has the goal of producing district boundaries that follow our fixed criteria of population distribution, compactness and contiguity.

Spring 2008 Class Projects

  1. Web-Based Support for Global Health Tracking in Developing Regions – The PEPFAR Blood Safety Data Collection System is an Internet-based system for collecting and storing blood safety information from many countries. It provides support for the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the United States’ Emergency Program for AIDS Relief. The system allows data managers in less-developed regions to provide timely and accurate information on blood collection and transfusion. Team: Adebola Osuntogun, Stephen Thomas, Santosh Vempala, John Pitman (CDC), Sridhar Basavaraju (CDC).
  2. TRC Liberia Tent – A Georgia Tech team is working with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia to help gather war crimes testimonies from Liberians involved in the civil war. This Commission is connected with the efforts being spearheaded by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to rebuild the country. More information about this can be found here at the website our team built for the TRC. Part of our role in this project is to design and deliver a mobile kiosk where the testimonies and sharing of stories for reconciliation can take place. This mobile kiosk will travel from location to location as part of the overall TRC process. Part of the design of this mobile kiosk involves creating a tent shade, used to provide TRC participants with protection from the environmental elements such as heavy rains during the rainy season. We are currently working with architects in NY to design this mobile kiosk. The design process for the tent involved creating three prototypes. The first prototype is being built in Liberia to explore the capabilities of building a tent using local materials and resources. The second prototype has been built in Atlanta to explore the capabilities of building a tent using materials and resources at Georgia Tech. The third prototype will be built and designed by Buro NY using the real-world-use feed back gathered from using the first two prototypes in Liberia. Progress on our designs can be viewed here. Although designing a tent seems far-removed from what would be considered a typical CS project, it is integrally tied to delivering technologies for social good in that 1) it demonstrates the physical considerations that must be accounted for in the technology’s context of use and 2) it stretches our understanding of what is entailed in a CS project–particularly when it involves making real-world impact. Team: Jennifer Stoll, Mike Best, Ellen Zegura, Susie McClain
  3. Web-Based Learning Portal – We are working with Operation P.E.A.C.E., a nonprofit, multi-service, neighborhood-development organization serving the Village of Bedford Pines and the surrounding area of metropolitan Atlanta. The organization has a year-round after-school program, where volunteers work to provide kids and teens with elementary tutoring and mentoring needs. We are looking into the aspects of the Internet and computers in this low-income community, seeking to realize kids’ interests and motivate them to start using these technologies. With the aim of creating a technological awareness to help them widen the scope of their education beyond the physical surroundings, we conducted a survey to gather information about the current usage and their perception of these technologies. We used the information gathered to design a web-based application which can help the organization in managing the program and motivate kids towards using these technologies. Team: Sanka Tandav Krishna, Dinesh Nagar, Chandan Sharma, Santosh Vempala, Operation P.E.A.C.E.
  4. Animal Health Information System Africa – Reducing the threat of an influenza pandemic requires a focus on preparedness and monitoring. Rapid identification, information sharing and response is critical if we are to limit the perils of widespread avian influenza, especially those cases in humans. In Africa a relatively weak public health infrastructure exacerbate the challenges of monitoring and response. Two important and related interventions will greatly enhance Africa’s ability to robustly respond to the risks of pandemic flu: 1) State-of-the-art public health information technologies, 2) Capacity building among African researchers. We propose to assist with both of these needs through an integrated and collaborative pandemic flu informatics project. In order to undertake this project, three Georgia Tech graduate students will be selected to serve as special graduate research fellows under the program. These students will spend the Spring 2008 term in Atlanta studying the problems and needs in African pandemic flu monitoring and response. Then they will spend Summer 2008 in Africa, based at the collaborating university. While this project aims to develop systems and capacity in Africa, it also will offer extraordinary opportunity and life-changing experience to students at Georgia Tech. Team: Sherida Heath, Mayank Goel, Ogechi Nnadi, Daniel Serrano, Thomas Smyth, Mike Best, Jeff Street (USAID/Via Consulting), AVOIR
  5. Homeless Shelter Occupancy – United Way of Atlanta needs a better way to track which homeless shelters have open beds, what kind of beds they are, and how many are open at any given time. To this end, we have created a central database with a user-friendly, web-based front-end that various shelters can access to determine what beds are available at what shelters, to reserve those beds as necessary, and to update their own bed availability. Team: Patrick Bailey, Parker McGee, Evan Zasoski, Santosh Vempala, Protip Biswas (United Way).
  6. Wireless Mesh Visualization and Management Tool – This project augments the Wireless Network Project, which aims at developing a low-cost, easy-to-use solution for Internet access in rural India. A significant way of making the solution more usable would be to have a way of visualizing the network, and performing some basic management tasks, including trouble-shooting using the visualization tool. This tool is aimed at local administrators in peer-to-peer networks, but in the context of rural India, most local administrators will not be very familiar with computers or network management in general. A user-friendly tool would help reduce or eliminate training time for these administrators. It would also serve as a quick, central information resource for all users. Team: Siddharth Gupta, Misi Barasz, Santosh Vempala
  7. The Nature of Wireless Traffic – This project was inspired by a previous effort that tested a mesh network algorithm in a city in India. The mesh network is meant to bring the Internet to parts of India currently not connected. Such connectivity can be expensive for one person alone but, supported by multiple people, might be affordable. The mesh network will take one Internet connection into a village and have computers use multi-hop routing to gain access. The limited resource will be the final connection to the Internet. Given this, we attempt to answer if there is significant enough local traffic to warrant creating programs specialized for local village communication. Further, if there is enough local traffic, what kind of services should be offered? Team: Elspeth Watson, Mike Best, Ellen Zegura, Santosh Vempala

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