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New scientists appointed for cities research using New York as ‘living lab’

Dr Maria Liakata and Dr Weisi GuoTwo researchers have joined the University of Warwick to tackle the challenges faced by cities in the 21st century as part of the New York-based Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).

The University of Warwick is a member of a consortium, led by New York University, which is building a new applied science research institute in New York in response to a call issued by the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The University has now welcomed the first of a number of new academic staff to be appointed to work at CUSP, Dr Maria Liakata and Dr Weisi Guo.

Using cities as ‘living laboratories’ will be key to CUSP's research, and real-world data from New York will be made available through partnerships with organisations like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

CUSP assistant professors Dr Liakata and Dr Guo will tap into this vast wealth of data to carry out research at the forefront of urban sciences in the areas of computer science and engineering respectively.

Professor Stephen Jarvis, who has been leading Warwick’s CUSP involvement, said: “We are pleased to welcome Dr Liakata and Dr Guo to the University of Warwick.

“These are the first of a number of new appointments that we will be making linked to CUSP, which will help us set the research agenda in the field of urban sciences.

“The scale of the future challenges in cities such as New York have been demonstrated in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. Now more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas; allowing these cities to keep citizens safe and well informed, and providing infrastructure and services which can run effectively and sustainably, even in the most difficult conditions, is a significant challenge.

“We are however fortunate that new technologies are emerging which will help meet these challenges, driven by developments in instrumentation and sensors, urban modelling, and community engagement through tools such as social media.

“The University of Warwick is well-positioned to apply its expertise across a number of disciplines into making the cities of the future more resilient and efficient.

“Through new appointments to come, we look forward to further strengthening our expertise in this area.”

Dr Maria Liakata, who joins the Department of Computer Science, will be working on mining data generated across a number of sources including social media in order to improve healthcare, security and wellbeing in urban areas.

Dr Weisi Guo, who joins the School of Engineering, works in wireless communications, including conducting research on the energy efficiency of urban wireless networks with industrial partners.

The two researchers will be based at Warwick but will make several trips a year to CUSP in New York to coordinate joint research project and to co-supervise student projects.

Since it was announced earlier this year, CUSP has appointed renowned physicist Steven Koonin as Director of CUSP.

Dr Koonin came to the University of Warwick last week where he spoke on the theme of The Promise of Urban Science as part of the university’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

When the centre is at full strength, it will have approximately 50 principal investigators, more than 400 Master’s students, 100 PhD students, and 30 post-doctoral students.


Further Information

For further information please contact University of Warwick press officer Anna Blackaby on 02476 575910 or a dot blackaby at warwick dot ac dot uk

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Further Information

For further information please contact University of Warwick press officer Anna Blackaby on 02476 575910 or a dot blackaby at warwick dot ac dot uk