Blog 1 — Summer research outline making

Since this my first time to do a scientific research, I am very excited and looking forward to the whole summer sessions. The main idea of this research — “Generate a spatially continuous synthetic population description for improved prediction of human movement and spread of disease” — was inspired by my COLL 150 with professor Frazier of Data Science department. So I started to talk with professor Frazier about some brief ideas about the research process. We talked for hours, which was really helpful and enlightening. We went through some topics in class during the spring semester and some inspiring thoughts of my classmates. The whole class collected many cutting-edge methodologies with promising future and some of them might be used by us.We settled down some general outlines of the research we are going to do and decided to read more about different methods and make a summary list of all the methods related.

In this case, this is basically what I did during the first week. After I settled down in an off-campus apartment. I began looking through piles of papers related to Random Forest, Hierarchical Bayesian Model, impedance model, Odds Ratio, etc. Some of them, like the first two, are mostly about how to generate a synthetic population of the specific area with diverse layers of data assembled. The others, like the last two methods, are about how to use the synthetic population generated to track and predict population movement and to further simulate disease spread, which is more applicable. Nearly all the methods are new but at the same time, they all either developed or improved from some old methods. So I tried to read more deeply about the methods relevant. However, some of the mechanics behind the methods are very complicated and mathematically based, so I didn’t get the chance to fully understand all of it. Instead, I tried to know the basic technique and how to use them and the pros and cons of each methods. After reading all the papers, I actually feel the power of data for the first time, and it gives me power at the same time.