EBTIC's chief researcher, Dr. Dymitr Ruta, came in second place at an Urban Data Hackathon recently held in Belfast, UK, which was run in partnership with Belfast City Council. EBTIC is the Khalifa University-based ICT research and innovation centre setup in collaboration with Etisalat and British Telecom with the support of the ICT Fund in the UAE.
Dr. Ruta, who leads "Big Data" research at EBTIC was partnered with Jack Steers, a student from Queens University, Belfast. They were tasked with solving problems put forward by the Belfast City Council, namely, on increasing recycling, making the council spend more intelligently, and increasing the level of tourism activity across the city. Dr. Ruta and Mr Steers proposed a new system that was assessed as a step closer towards eliminating barriers to recycling across the city of Belfast.
Their "Rapidly Composed System" prototype geographically visualised waste collection processes, as well as discovered and explained the catalysts and inhibitors to recycling in Belfast. The development involved cleaning, linking and intelligently aggregating multiple large data sources including waste collected weight, population and census statistics and weather data, all aligned along with the time and location. The data was then analysed to predict the weight of collected recycling. Using this information, the team was successfully able to predict the key contributors and barriers to recycling in the city.
The solution delivered new insights into how education attainment, household profiles and other socio-economic factors impact recycling attitudes, some of which were identified as worth immediate attention by the judges from the Belfast City Council.
"We are very pleased with Dr. Ruta's second place win in Belfast," said Dr. Samer Al Samahi, EBTIC Director. "Recycling is certainly a global concern and sustainability is a key part of EBTIC's research and innovation programme. Moreover, the skills and capabilities we have at EBTIC that underpinned this achievement demonstrate our thought leadership at an international level. It is also in line with our strategy of leveraging our core research and innovation capabilities in ICT to support the drive towards realising a smart city infrastructure in the UAE. Challenges like this one are a great way to get our researchers thinking 'outside the box' and exploring areas that may not be their primary focus. This is always valuable because it spurs creativity, and creativity is what drives innovation."